World Cup-Winning Spanish Women’s Team Refuses to Play Again Until Federation Leader Removed Over Inappropriate Behavior
The members of Spain’s champion women’s national team said they would refuse to play another game until the leader of the football federation is removed for kissing a teammate without her consent.
Association President Luis Rubiales is facing a probable suspension from the Spanish government over the incident, in which he grabbed Jennifer Hermoso, a star Spanish player, and kissed her on the lips after the team’s victory in the World Cup final. At an extraordinary meeting of the federation, Rubiales repeatedly insisted that he doesn’t intend to resign over the incident.
FutPro, the union representing the players, said in a statement that it supports Hermoso, who reiterated that the kiss wasn’t consensual. The nation’s sports council — which oversees Spain’s sports associations — said it will file a complaint against Rubiales at a sports tribunal and wants the case to be heard on Monday. If the court accepts the complaint, the sports council will immediately move to suspend him.
Rubiales’s behavior has cast a pall over the Spanish women’s first World Cup title run, which had captivated the country. The federation president, 46, has also faced a backlash for grabbing his crotch while celebrating a goal in the director’s box during the match, where he was standing next to Spain’s Queen Letizia and one of her daughters.
“We want this to be the ‘Me too’ moment for Spanish football,” Victor Francos, who heads the sports council, said at a news conference in Tarragona. “I apologize to the players, because they did not deserve this week,” he added. “Hopefully we can celebrate again when this storm passes.”