Madrid (AFP): Spain’s women’s football league on Wednesday demanded Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales be sacked for kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the country’s World Cup victory, describing his behaviour as “disgusting”.
Spanish football federation (RFEF) chief Rubiales, 46, has been heavily criticised for planting a kiss on the lips of Hermoso following her team’s 1-0 triumph over England in the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.
Rubiales initially attacked his critics before eventually apologising but the criticism of his behaviour has not abated.
La Liga F said in a statement: “The Professional Women’s Football League has lodged a complaint with the President of the Superior Sports Council (CSD) after the very serious actions and behaviour of the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, at the final of the Women’s World Cup, and is calling for his dismissal.
“One of the greatest feats in the history of Spanish sport has been tainted by the embarrassing behaviour of the highest representative of Spanish football who, once again, and guided by his continuous and habitual desire for leadership, has revealed to not be up to the position he occupies,” the women’s league added.
“A boss grabbing his employee by the head and kissing her on the mouth simply cannot be tolerated.
“It’s not just about the kiss. Celebrating the triumph on the presidential balcony while holding his genitals next to the queen is unacceptable and disgusting.”
That criticism was a reference to another incident on Sunday evening, broadcast around the world, which appeared to show Rubiales grab his genitals with both hands to celebrate Spain’s victory.
Less than two metres away from his seat were Spanish Queen Letizia and her daughter, Infanta Sofia, who were also watching the match.
“It’s an incident which has entered the history of world sport and, more seriously still, will forever be linked to our national women’s team,” said La Liga F who described it as a moment of “unprecedented international disgrace for the ‘Spain brand’, for Spanish sport and for women’s football in the world”.
Government demands ‘urgent’ investigation
Earlier on Wednesday, the Spanish government demanded transparency and urgent action from the football federation. The RFEF on Tuesday called an emergency meeting for Friday and activated an internal investigation into the incident.
Victor Francos, Spain’s secretary of sport and president of the country’s sports council (CSD), said the council would take action if the RFEF did not — they can raise the case to Spain’s Administrative Court for Sports.
“I imagine that what the responsible people will do is talk to the two parties involved and issue a report,” Francos told radio station Cadena Ser.
“I have personally told the federation this report has to be transparent and urgent, because, if it is not, obviously we are obliged to take the corresponding additional measures.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Tuesday that Rubiales’ apology for the kiss was insufficent.
“The government has said what it has said — it is an unacceptable act, more steps (are happening) and we will use our instruments to prove transparency in the process and the corresponding resolution, if the time comes,” added Francos.
American forward Megan Rapinoe, the world’s highest-profile women’s player, was similarly scathing in an interview with The Atlantic on Tuesday.
“What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you should be celebrating, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy,” said Rapinoe. She referred to Rubiales’ behaviour at the final as portraying “a deep level of misogyny and sexism”.