of Spain Football Federation Jennifer Hermoso, one of the country’s star players, is threatening legal action after accusing federation president Luis Rubiales of lying about kissing her.
Hermoso said on Friday that at no time did she consent to a kiss from the country’s soccer president at the medal ceremony last Sunday after Spain won the Women’s World Cup. Pushing, sexual, out of place action without any consent on my part.”
In a statement on Friday, the federation responded to Hermoso and Spain’s Professional Footballers’ Association (FUTPRO), describing the kiss as “reciprocal” and supporting Rubiales, who spoke of “unfair” campaigns and “fake feminism”.
“The evidence is solid. The president did not lie,” the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said, with descriptions of photos supporting Rubiales’ claim.
“The RFEF and the President will prove each and every falsehood spread by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player.
“Considering the seriousness of the contents of Futpro Union’s press release, the RFEF and the President will initiate legal action against it,” the statement said.
After 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad, the confederation said they had an “obligation” to take part in matches “if they are invited”. Hermoso, along with nearly 50 other professional women’s soccer players, said they would not play for the country again until Rubiales was removed from his position.
On Saturday, soccer’s world governing body FIFA temporarily suspended Rubiales from “all football-related activities,” saying on Thursday it had initiated disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales because he may have violated the game’s “fundamental rules of decent conduct.”
Following Spain’s win over England in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales was filmed kissing Hermoso on the lips after collecting her winners’ medal, an act the 33-year-old said she “didn’t like”. “Didn’t expect it.”
Rubiales, who said on Monday that he had “made a mistake”, has come under fire throughout the week from the football world and some Spanish politicians, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. An unacceptable gesture” is “not enough.”
But the scandal deepened on Friday when Rubiales delivered a scandalous speech at the federation’s extraordinary general assembly, where he insisted he would not resign.
Responding to Rubiales’ speech, Hermoso said the RFEF president’s interpretation of the incident was “flatly” wrong: “I want to reiterate, as I have done before, that I do not like this incident.”
He also described his refusal to release a statement to “relieve pressure” on Rubiales, saying he was “constantly pressured to release a statement that would justify the actions of Mr. Luis Rubiales.”
“Not only that, in different ways and through different people, REF has pressured my surroundings (family, friends, teammates, etc.) to give testimony that has little to do with my feelings,” he added.
In a statement published on player union site FUTPRO and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the national team players who signed the statement said they “will not present themselves for national team selection until there is real leadership”. place.”
“No woman should have to answer questions based on graphic images that the entire world has seen, and certainly, no one should engage in attitudes without consent,” the statement said.
“It fills us with sadness that such an unacceptable act tarnishes the greatest sporting achievement in the history of Spanish women’s football.”
Following Rubiales’ comments on Friday, Spain’s High Sports Council (CSD) president Víctor Francos said the council would expect Rubiales to be suspended quickly following the proper process.
The CSD is an autonomous decision-making body of the Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sports and has the power to demand Rubiales’ removal. However, to do so, the body must follow the necessary series of steps, including a complaint being filed against him and a case being tried before a tribunal.
Some members of the Spanish football community have been particularly critical of Rubiales’ speech, with Hermoso’s international teammate and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Butellas calling it “unacceptable”.
Spain’s men’s international striker Borja Iglesias said on social media he would not play for the national team “until things change”, while Spain’s second deputy prime minister, Yolanda Díaz, called for Rubiales to resign.