In a stunning turn of events, the Spanish Football Federation issued a formal apology on Tuesday for what they termed as “unacceptable” behavior by their president, Luis Rubiales. The controversy erupted after Rubiales was seen kissing player Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final. This incident sent shockwaves through the football world and resulted in FIFA suspending Luis Rubiales pending further investigation.
Initially, the Spanish football federation had dismissed the allegations made by Jenni Hermoso as “lies.” However, the gravity of the situation became evident as more details emerged. Hermoso accused Rubiales of making indecent and obscene gestures toward players of the opposing team during the match.
In response to these allegations, Luis Rubiales has been removed from soccer duties for a period of 90 days “pending the disciplinary proceedings opened” against him.
The Spanish football federation, in its statement, emphasized that Luis Rubiales’ actions “in no way represent the values of Spanish society as a whole, its institutions, representatives, athletes, and sports leaders.” They further asserted that Spanish society is renowned for its tolerance, civility, and sportsmanship, which have been evident for decades in various sporting events.
Jenni Hermoso, the midfielder at the center of the controversy, expressed her feelings of vulnerability and being a victim of assault during the incident. In a social media statement, she stated, “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an assault, an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part. Simply, I was not respected.”
Luis Rubiales, acknowledging his actions, issued an apology, saying, “Surely I was wrong, I have to admit. It was without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness,” as reported by Reuters.
Calls for Rubiales’ resignation have been growing louder, with even Spain’s second deputy prime minister joining the chorus. The incident has not only cast a shadow over Spanish football but has also raised questions about the importance of maintaining respect and decorum in sports, especially in high-stakes events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup. FIFA’s decision to suspend Rubiales underscores the seriousness with which such behavior is regarded in the international sporting community, and the world awaits the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.