Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has apologised for kissing player Jenni Hermoso following his country’s Women’s World Cup final win over England in Australia.
The football chief had faced a wave of criticism and resignation calls after planting the unsolicited kiss on Jenni’s lips following the match.
In a video address today after leading politicians said he should quit or apologise, Rubiales admitted he had made a mistake.
He started the video by saying the Spanish team had achieved an ‘historic feat’ and it was one of the ‘happiest’ days for Spanish football.
But he added: ‘There is also something I regret and it’s over something that happened between a female player and myself who enjoy a magnificent relationship the same as I have with other women players.
‘I’ve no doubt made a mistake and I have to admit it.’
Luis Rubiales plants a kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s mouth at World Cup final
Spanish Football Association president Luis Rubiales is facing criticism today after footage emerged of him appearing to grab his testicles in an obscene gesture next to Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter Sofia
Rubiales is seen kissing the cheek of goalscorer Olga Carmona
Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales apologises for kissing World Cup winner on the lips after he faced calls to resign over unwanted embrace
He continued: ‘At a moment of maximum excitement, without any bad intention or bad faith, what happened happened in a very spontaneous manner, I repeat without bad faith on either side.
‘We didn’t understand really what occurred afterwards because we saw it as something normal and natural but it has caused a controversy in some sectors and some people appear to have been upset and therefore I have to apologise.
‘Moreover I have to learn from this and understand that when someone presides an institution as important as the Spanish FA he has to take more care in events like ceremonies.’
Defending his initial reaction in the wake of the controversy, when he branded the people who had criticised the kiss as ‘idiots’, and admitting he was saddened because it had tainted the historic Spanish victory, he continued: ‘Within the Spanish FA no-one lent the slightest importance to this but outside it seems they have.
‘I also want to apologise to those people because if people have been affected outside, they will no doubt have their reasons.’
Rubiales made his public apology as he faced resignation calls over his controversial post-Women’s World Cup celebrations which included giving player Jenni Hermoso an unwanted kiss on the lips.
The 45-year-old had been accused of committing ‘sexual violence’ overnight by Spain’s acting Equality Minister Irene Montero for the unsolicited smacker following the country’s 1-0 win against England.
He initially laughed it off as a ‘peck on the lips between two friends celebrating something’ even though 33-year-old Jenni admitted she hadn’t liked it in a post-match live online stream from the dressing room.
Footage subsequently emerged of Rubiales grabbing his crotch and appearing to make an obscene gesture during his wild celebrations in the stands beside Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter.
This morning Anna Caula, General Secretary of Sport for the regional Catalan government, said he should resign.
She called the kiss he planted on Jenni Hermoso’s lips as a ‘harsh aggression’ and added: ‘We must be aware there are things that are not a price that we should have to pay.
‘In football things are still not equal, we still have a lot of work to do.
‘It is up to a president of the Spanish FA to be scrupulous in the way he behaves himself
‘The explanation for this kiss and the subsequent declarations that have been made justifying it means us normalising attitudes that are not acceptable.’
Marta Lois, parliamentary spokesperson for Spanish left-wing coalition party Sumar, said: ‘This type of sexist behaviour towards the Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso is intolerable.
‘Mr Rubiales must resign. It’s shocking.’
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (L), Queen Letizia of Spain (2nd L), Spanish Princess Sofia (C) and Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales (2R) attend the awards ceremony after the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup final football match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 20, 2023
Spain’s Alexia Putellas and Luis Rubiales during the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023
Rubiales is seen celebrating here alongside Queen Letizia and Sofia
Colleague Ernest Urtasum insisted Rubiales should resign ‘tomorrow’ insisting: ‘The image he has shown the world is one of repugnant machoism. This cannot go unpunished.’
Spanish politician Pablo Echenique, a member of hard-left wing party Podemos, was among those who picked up on Rubiales’ crotch grab while the controversy surrounding his kiss was still raging.
He tweeted along video footage of the alleged obscene gesture: ‘As well as giving Jenni Hermoso a non-consensual kiss on the lips while he grabbed her head, an act that could represent the commission of a crime, Rubiales also celebrated Spain’s victory grabbing his testicles next to the queen and her daughter.’
He also posted a photo of the Spanish FA president planting a sloppy kiss on the left cheek of goalscorer Olga Carmona, who learnt after the match her father had died, and wrote on his Twitter feed: ‘Here he is too with Olga Carmona.
‘It seems this guy was drooling over and stalking the whole team.’
Rubiales has yet to comment on the claims he grabbed his private parts in front of Spain’s leading female royals.
He was filmed in the dressing room after yesterday’s World Cup final, announcing a trip to Ibiza for Spain’s winning women as a prize before joking in front of Jenni Hermoso and her teammates: ‘In Ibiza we’ll be celebrating Jenni and Luis Rubiales’ wedding.
Hermoso admitted she hadn’t liked the kiss in a live online stream to fans from the dressing room.
In subsequent comments facilitated by Spain’s FA, the Madrid-born footballer who currently plays for Mexican side Pachuca, referred to the moment as a ‘mutually and totally spontaneous gesture’ and insisted: ‘The president and I have a great relationship.’
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.