The Spanish government on Wednesday demanded transparency and urgent action from the country’s football federation against its chief Luis Rubiales over his kiss on the lips of a Women’s World Cup player.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) chief has been heavily criticised for planting a kiss on the lips of Spain player Jenni Hermoso following her team’s triumph in the final against England in Sydney on Sunday.
Keep readinglist of 2 items
Rubiales, 46, initially attacked his critics before eventually apologising, but the criticism of his behaviour has not abated.
The RFEF on Tuesday called an emergency meeting for Friday and activated an internal investigation into the incident, amid mounting pressure to take action against Rubiales.
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 on Tuesday that Rubiales’ apology for the kiss was insufficient.
“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.
Rubiales has come under fire across the world and at home in Spain, with some Spanish clubs calling for him to step down.
“What Rubiales has to do is resign, his behaviour has been deplorable,” said Getafe football club’s president Angel Torres on Wednesday.
“He cannot continue for a minute more as president of the federation,” he added.
American forward Megan Rapinoe, the world’s highest-profile women’s player, was similarly scathing in an interview with The Atlantic publication 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”.
“He has harassed and, without any doubt, assaulted a woman,” Yolanda Diaz, second deputy prime minister and leader of political party Sumar, said on Tuesday, adding that Rubiales should resign.
“The [sports council] must act so that machismo does not go unpunished,” added Diaz on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday, adding that Sumar had reported Rubiales to the body.