Spain FIFA Argentine star Jennifer Hermoso has threatened to take legal action, accusing her of lying about being kissed by federation president Luis Rubiales.
Hermoso said on Friday that she had never agreed to a kiss by the country’s football chief – at the medal ceremony last Sunday after Spain won the Women’s World Cup – and wrote on social media: “I felt vulnerable and victim of a rush. motivated, sexist and misplaced behavior without any consent on my part.
In a statement Friday, in response to Hermoso and the Spanish Association of Professional Footballers (FUTPRO), the federation defended Rubiales, who described the kiss as “mutual” and spoke of “unfair” and “fake feminist” campaigns.
“The evidence is overwhelming. The president did not lie,” the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said, along with describing images that attempted to support Rubiales’ claim.
“The RFEF and the president will bring to light all falsehoods spread by someone on behalf of the player, or, if possible, by the player himself.
“The Spanish Football Federation and the president, given the seriousness of the content of the press release issued by the Football Federation, will take appropriate legal measures,” the statement read.
The federation went on to say that players have an “obligation” to take part in matches “if asked to do so”, after all 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad participated. Among them, Hermoso, and nearly 50 other professional soccer players, said they would not play again for the country until Rubiales was sacked.
On Saturday, FIFA temporarily suspended Rubiales from “all football-related activities” after saying on Thursday that he had opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales because he may have breached the “fundamental rules of proper conduct” in the game.
After Spain beat England in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales was photographed kissing Hermoso on the lips after she collected a winners’ medal, an act the 33-year-old said later that day she “didn’t like” and “didn’t I wasn’t expecting.”
Rubiales, who said on Monday he had “made a mistake”, came under fire all week from the soccer world and some Spanish politicians, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who apologized for what he called the “mistake”. An “unacceptable gesture” was “inadequate”.
But the scandal escalated on Friday when Rubiales made a bold speech to the federation’s extraordinary general assembly, in which he emphatically stated that he would not resign.
In response to Rubiales’ letter, Hermoso said the RFEF president’s explanation of the incident was “categorically” false, adding: “I want to repeat as I did before that I did not like this incident.”
She also described the refusal of requests to issue a statement to “relieve pressure” on Rubiales, saying she was “under constant pressure to make a statement that could justify Mr. Luis Rubiales’ actions.”
She added: “Not only that, but in different ways and through different people, REF pressured those around me (family, friends, teammates, etc.) to give testimony that had nothing to do with my feelings or nothing at all.”
In a statement posted on the players’ association FUTPRO and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the national team players said those who signed the statement “will not apply for selection for the national team as long as the de facto leadership remains in power”. place.”
“No woman should see herself needing to answer questions based on the crude images the whole world has seen, and of course, no one should participate in situations without consent,” the statement read.
“It fills us with sadness that this act, totally unacceptable, has succeeded in tarnishing the greatest sporting achievement in the history of Spanish women’s football,” she added.
Following Rubiales’ comments on Friday, the head of Spain’s Supreme Sports Council, Victor Francos, said the council would look to suspend Rubiales as soon as possible with due legal process.
The Commission for Sustainable Development is an independent decision-making body of the Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, with the potential power to demand Rubiales’ dismissal. However, to do so, the authority needs to go through a series of required steps, including filing a complaint against him and hearing the case before the court.
Rubiales’ speech was particularly criticized by some members of the Spanish football community, with Hermoso’s international teammate and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Potellas calling it “unacceptable”.
Spanish international striker Borja Iglesias said on social media that he would not play for the national team “until things change,” while Spain’s acting second deputy prime minister, Yolanda Diaz, called on Rubiales to resign.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”