Spanish World Cup star Jenni Hermoso has said she did not consent to being kissed by football president Luis Rubiales following the women’s World Cup final, as all 23 of the squad’s players sign a statement refusing to play until he is sacked.
Members of the national men’s and women’s teams said on Friday, August 25, that they would not play any matches for the country until Rubiales has been removed from his job after he kissed Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s World Cup victory.
Hermoso said: ‘I want to clarify, that at no time did I consent to the kiss. I don’t tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I haven’t said.’
This comes after Rubiales refused to resign on Friday but instead began a long-winded rant in which he claimed he was the subject of a ‘witch-hunt’, shouting he would not resign four times.
He also appeared to grab his crotch while watching from the royal box, next to the Spanish Queen Letizia and her daughter.
After his failure to step down, the Spanish government has started legal proceedings in a bid to have the 46-year-old suspended. Victor Francos, head of the government’s National Sports Council, said the government sees this as the ‘MeToo of Spanish football,’ the Times reports.
He continued: ‘The government begins today the procedures so that Mr Rubiales has to give explanations before the Administrative Court of Sport [TAD] and, if the TAD is willing, we will suspend Mr. Rubiales in his functions.’
It is expected a court hearing will take place on Monday.
The football boss claimed the kiss was ‘consensual’: ‘It was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric, and consensual. That’s the key. A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here?’
Asked about the moment on Spanish TV afterwards, Hermoso said: ‘I did not like it.’
A total of 81 players signed a joint statement sent via their FUTPRO union demanding the removal of the federation leadership and refusing to play for the national team until Rubiales has gone.
It comes as the president of Spain’s Women’s Football Committee Rafael del Amo resigned after Luis Rubiales announced that he would not be stepping down as the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Del Amo, who oversees the body that supervises women’s football in Spain, claimed on Friday that he could not be involved in a project that he ‘did not believe in.’
‘I have submitted my resignation after seeing that Luis Rubiales continues to lead the Federation,’ Del Amo said, according to Diario de Sevilla.
‘I have been the only president who has told him looking at his face. I believed in a female project that did not exist and he opted for it, with 27 million euros, I am super grateful.
‘But I think, above all because of what happened in the box, that it is unacceptable.’
Rubiales defiantly blamed ‘false feminism’ for a ‘social murder’ against him in a stunning speech earlier on Friday.
‘I told him [Rubiales]: “Have to be honest with you, I think you can’t be here as president”,’ he added.
‘I have to thank him, I respect what he does, but I can’t be in a project that I don’t believe in, that’s clear. We all thought on Thursday that he was going to resign today.’
Alexis Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, and World Cup-winning team-mates Cata Coll, Aitana Bonmati, and Irene Paredes have all spoken out publicly in defence of Hermoso.
But Hermoso’s teammates and other Spanish football stars did not agree.
Men’s national team striker Borja Iglesias has also quit playing for his country in protest while Rubiales remains in post.
The 30-year-old Real Betis full-back, who has been capped twice by Spain, said: ‘Wearing the Spanish National Team shirt is one of the greatest things that has happened to me in my career.
‘I don’t know if at some point I will be an option again, but I have made the decision not to return to the National Team until things change and this type of act does not go unpunished.’