Spanish football federation president, Luis Rubiales, has expressed regret for kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the Women’s World Cup victory celebration.
Following Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the final of the Women’s World Cup, Luis Rubiales, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso passionately while presenting medals. The incident stirred controversy and sparked discussions about consent and boundaries.
On Monday, Rubiales addressed the issue, saying: “I was completely wrong, I have to admit it. It was without bad intention at a time with a lot of excitement. In the moment, we saw it as natural, but outside a commotion has formed. I have to apologise, learn from this, and understand that when you are president you have to be more careful.”
Despite Hermoso’s initial statement on Instagram that she “didn’t like it,” a statement released on her behalf by the Spanish football federation defended Rubiales. In the statement, Hermoso described the moment as a “natural gesture of affection” due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup.
Rubiales brushed off the criticism, stating that only “idiots” are making a big deal out of it. “When two people have a gesture of affection, that isn’t important, we can’t pay attention to idiocy. We’re [world] champions and I’ll focus on that,” he said.
However, the incident sparked discussions about consent and respect, with Spain’s equalities minister Irene Montero emphasizing that such actions cannot be normalized. Critics argued that it was a form of sexual violence, and Spain’s sports minister Miquel Iceta called for explanations and apologies from Rubiales.
Rubiales’ actions were heavily criticized on social media, and the Spanish newspaper El Pais ran the headline “Jenni didn’t like Rubiales’ kiss, neither did we.”
Ultimately, Rubiales offered an apology to Hermoso on Monday, admitting his mistake and acknowledging the need for greater sensitivity in his position as president of the Spanish football federation.
The controversy surrounding the incident emerged amidst Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup, despite controversies over coach Jorge Vilda and the unfortunate news that Spain captain Olga Carmona’s father had passed away after the final.