The Chief of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has issued an apology for an incident in which he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the celebrations of Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory. The unexpected and inappropriate act sparked outrage and ignited discussions about consent and gender issues in Spain.
The incident occurred as Rubiales presented gold medals to the Spanish team after their 1-0 victory over England in the final of the Women’s World Cup. In response to the incident, Rubiales acknowledged his mistake in a video statement released by the federation. He admitted that his actions were not motivated by ill intent but were a result of the excitement and euphoria of the moment.
Jenni Hermoso’s reaction to the incident appeared to indicate discomfort. Video footage shared on social media captured her remarking to teammates in the locker room that she “didn’t like it.” However, Hermoso later downplayed the incident, describing it as a spontaneous and mutual gesture prompted by the overwhelming joy of winning a World Cup.
The incident has sparked discussions and raised awareness around issues of consent and gender dynamics in Spain. The country’s government has undertaken significant legal reforms in areas such as gender change, abortion, and sex work. The incident has prompted broader conversations about non-consensual actions and how they can contribute to a larger culture of gender-based violence and harassment.
Several government ministers, including Acting Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz and Acting Culture and Sports Minister Miquel Iceta, criticized the incident. Diaz called for Rubiales’ resignation, characterizing the incident as an attack on Hermoso. The Acting Gender Equality Minister, Irene Montero, stressed the importance of not normalizing non-consensual actions and behaviors.
Despite the controversy surrounding the incident, Jenni Hermoso has expressed her desire to focus on her achievement as a world champion and shift the attention away from the incident. Luis Rubiales, who initially dismissed the outrage as the work of “idiots,” eventually extended his apology to those who had criticized his actions.