The Spanish soccer community is reeling from an unexpected crisis after an unwanted kiss by Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales on Women’s World Cup Winner Jenni Hermoso ignited a firestorm of controversy.
The incident, which occurred during the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 final, has prompted world governing body FIFA to suspend Rubiales from all football-related activities for 90 days pending disciplinary proceedings.
However, Rubiales vehemently denies any wrongdoing, insisting that the kiss was consensual and refusing to step down from his position despite mounting criticism.
Hermoso, on the other hand, has been vocal about her discomfort, describing the kiss as an “impulse-driven, sexist act without any consent.”
She and her fellow World Cup-winning teammates have gone as far as refusing to play future matches as long as Rubiales remains in power.
The situation has escalated into a battle of statements and accusations, with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) standing by Rubiales and even threatening legal action against Hermoso.
FIFA’s intervention, including the suspension and a ban on contacting Hermoso, underscores the gravity of the issue.
The fallout from the incident has also resulted in a mass exodus among Spain’s women’s coaching staff, with eleven members of the women’s national soccer program resigning in protest.
This includes assistant coaches and key members of the coaching staff, who cite Rubiales’ behavior as their reason for leaving.
The scandal has drawn international attention and ignited discussions around gender rights and sexism in Spain. The actions of Rubiales and the subsequent reactions from players and coaching staff have cast a spotlight on the need for accountability and respectful treatment within the world of sports.
Amidst this turmoil, the future of Spanish women’s soccer remains uncertain, as the players and the nation grapple with the fallout from an incident that has shaken the foundations of the sport.