Women’s World Cup kiss sparks outrage
Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso has expressed her discomfort after Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales kissed her during the team's World Cup celebrations. A video capturing Rubiales embracing Hermoso and kissing her on the lips has ignited a wave of criticism and outrage. The incident occurred during the post-match trophy ceremony following Spain's 1-0 victory over England in the World Cup final.
Rubiales' celebratory actions, including lifting the 33-year-old Hermoso off the ground in a bear hug, have raised eyebrows on social media and prompted discussions about personal boundaries. The Spanish president's behavior during the medal presentation has come under scrutiny, especially considering the context of the historic win for Spain.
Hermoso, while speaking on an Instagram live stream after the game, candidly expressed her feelings about the incident. She revealed, "I didn't like it," even though she was seen smiling during her statement.
Later, she referred to the kiss as a "natural gesture of affection," explaining that the joy of winning the World Cup led to spontaneous actions. Hermoso clarified that she shares a strong rapport with Rubiales and that his interactions with the team have generally been positive.
Rubiales also responded to the controversy during a radio interview, dismissing the criticism as "idiocy." He characterized the gesture as a minor and unimportant show of affection, emphasizing that it should not overshadow the team's achievement. The incident has sparked conversations about appropriate conduct and the boundaries of personal space.
Spanish TV presenter Claudya Carolina criticized Rubiales' actions as "unpresentable" and "excessive," while football journalist Colin Millar conveyed that such moments hold great emotional significance for athletes and should be treated with respect.
This incident isn't the only instance of Rubiales displaying physical affection toward players. Another video has emerged showing him kissing a Spanish player on the cheek during on-field celebrations. While some argue that these gestures were well-intentioned and fueled by the team's triumph, others contend that they highlight broader issues within the sport.
Spain's World Cup journey has been marred by controversies surrounding the relationship between the federation and coach Jorge Vilda, as well as the players' stance on various matters.
Some top players initially protested against the national team ahead of the tournament, but many eventually reconciled their positions and a few were included in the squad. Rubiales' steadfast support for Vilda faced criticism, and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) was accused of taking a strong stance against the protesting players.
Despite the mixed emotions and surrounding controversies, Spain secured their victory through Olga Carmona's first-half goal. Jenni Hermoso, reflecting on the team's performance, tearfully shared her feelings with Spanish broadcasters, expressing that the team had played according to their plan and achieved their dream of winning a World Cup.