Spainish FA boss faces criticism for post-match kiss with midfielder Jennifer Hermoso

Published on: 21 August 2023

Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales is facing criticism for an incident involving Spain midfielder Jennifer Hermoso after the team's Women's World Cup final victory over England on Sunday.

During FIFA's awards ceremony following the final, Rubiales was seen embracing Hermoso, putting both hands on her head, and giving her a surprise kiss on the lips as she received her gold medal. The incident took place in the presence of other dignitaries, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Spain's Queen Letizia, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Video footage of the incident circulated on social media, drawing attention and raising questions about the appropriateness of Rubiales' actions. In an Instagram live video, Hermoso can be heard expressing her discomfort with the incident, saying, "Hey, I didn't like it, eh." Later in the same video, she addresses questions from others, defending her response to the unexpected kiss.

During an interview on the radio program 'El Tiempo de Juego' on Cadena COPE, Hermoso commented on the incident, acknowledging that she didn't anticipate it but attributing it to the emotional moment. She emphasized that she doesn't consider it a major issue and believes it will become a mere anecdote over time.

Rubiales responded to the criticism by dismissing it as "idiocy" and downplaying the incident. He defended the kiss, stating, "When two people have a moment of affection without any importance, we can't listen to idiocy. We're champions and I stay with that," during an interview with Radio Marca.

The incident has sparked a discussion about boundaries, consent, and the treatment of female athletes in the sports world.

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