Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has blasted as “insufficient” the apology given by Spain’s football federation chief for kissing star footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup.
Royal Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales, 45, kissed Hermoso as he handed the Spanish team their gold medals following the 1-0 win over England in the final on Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
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He kissed other players on the cheek or embraced them.
“What we saw was an unacceptable gesture,” Sanchez told a news conference on Tuesday when asked about the outcry over the unsolicited kiss.
“I also think the apologies given by Rubiales are insufficient. And I even think that they are inappropriate, and that he must go further,” added Sanchez, whose government has pushed through tougher laws on sexual consent and harassment.
As the controversy over the kiss grew, Rubiales apologised on Monday in a video posted on social media.
“It was done without any ill intention in a moment of the highest exuberance. Here we saw it as natural and normal but outside it has caused a commotion,” said Rubiales.
“I have no choice but to apologise and to learn from this … and when representing the federation take more care,” he said, adding that he thought the furore was “idiotic”.
Rubiales also stressed that he had a “magnificent relationship” with Hermoso.
‘I didn’t like it’
On Sunday, 33-year-old Hermoso posted a video on Instagram showing the celebrations in the changing room in which she responded to teasing from teammates by saying: “I didn’t like it” while laughing.
She later downplayed the incident in a statement released by the federation, saying it was “a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings”.
“The president and I have a great relationship. His behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude,” she added, according to the federation statement.
Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz called for Rubiales’s resignation, saying “his excuses do not work at all”, while Equality Minister Irene Montero said a nonconsensual kiss is “a kind of sex violence all women suffer daily”.