Spain PM: Rubiales’ Apology for Kiss 'Insufficient'
Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez strongly criticized the apology issued by Spain's football federation chief, Luis Rubiales, for kissing star footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup. The incident occurred during the medal ceremony following Spain's 1-0 win over England in the final held in Sydney, Australia.
Rubiales, aged 45, had kissed Hermoso on the lips while presenting the Spanish team with their gold medals. He had greeted other players with kisses on the cheek or hugs. This unexpected kiss sparked a wave of criticism and controversy.
Addressing the matter in a press conference, Prime Minister Sanchez described the gesture as "unacceptable." He also deemed Rubiales' apologies as insufficient and inappropriate, insisting that he needs to take more significant action. Sanchez's government has previously enacted stricter legislation on sexual consent and harassment.
As the backlash intensified, Rubiales posted an apology video on social media on the following day. He explained that the kiss was not intended to cause any harm and was a spontaneous act driven by excitement. However, he acknowledged that the incident had caused a stir outside the context of the moment. Rubiales expressed his regret, pledged to learn from the situation, and stressed the importance of being more cautious while representing the football federation.
Rubiales emphasized that he shares a positive relationship with Hermoso and that the gesture was a display of genuine affection and gratitude. Hermoso, who is 33 years old, initially responded to the teasing from her teammates about the kiss by saying "I didn't like it" in a video posted on her Instagram. She later released a statement through the federation, downplaying the incident. She referred to the kiss as a spontaneous and mutual expression of joy associated with winning the World Cup.
The controversy surrounding the incident led to calls for Rubiales' resignation from some prominent figures. Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz criticized Rubiales' explanations, deeming them insufficient. Equality Minister Irene Montero equated the non-consensual kiss with a form of sexual violence that women experience on a daily basis.
The incident highlights the broader conversation about consent, respect, and appropriate behavior, especially in the context of high-profile events like sports competitions. The differing perspectives on the incident reflect a larger societal dialogue about boundaries and respect for personal space.
Who is Luis Rubiales?
Luis Rubiales was born on January 23, 1977. He is a Spanish football administrator and former professional player. He gained prominence as the President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), a role he assumed in 2018. Prior to his administrative career, Rubiales played as a defender for various football clubs in Spain, including Levante and Xerez, as well as representing the Spanish national team. As the head of RFEF, he has been involved in decision-making processes that impact Spanish football, including overseeing national team activities and domestic competitions.