World Cup 2023

Avalanche of criticism of Rubiales for his non-consensual kiss to Jennifer Hermoso

The Generalitat of Catalonia, Miquel Iceta and Irene Montero, among others, have harshly criticized the president of the Spanish Football Federation

3 min
Rubiales' controversial kiss

BarcelonaThe celebration of the first World Cup of the Spanish women's soccer team it was altered when the players had not yet lifted the trophy. During the medal ceremony, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, kissed the mouth of ex-Barcelona player Jennifer Hermoso, one of the players who had started in the final. The action took everyone by surprise, including the footballer herself. "It is a situation of abuse of power of a sexual nature," says Marta Roqueta, a doctoral researcher at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) who is an expert in gender perspective.

"Rubiales did not kiss Queen Letizia, who was also there. He did it to a player. There is an idea that the woman's body is accessible by people in a higher power situation. The iceberg of violence is very broad. For there to be the most extreme violence underneath, there must be more mundane violence like this," Roqueta continues. In addition, she points out that "a female athlete subverts gender roles, because mobility has historically been associated with men through masculinity and women have been linked to a sedentary lifestyle."

Later, during the celebration of the title by of the players in the locker room of the final stadium, the ANZ Stadium in Sydney (Australia), Jennifer Hermoso's first public reaction took place during an Instagram live. "I didn't like it, huh?" He says at first. "But what do I do? Look at me, look at me," he adds. _BK_CODE_

The Generalitat requests the resignation of Rubiales

Several personalities and entities have already publicly expressed their rejection of Rubiales' action. Among them, the Generalitat of Catalonia, which through the General Secretary for Sport, Anna Caula, in statements to Catalunya Ràdio has described the kiss as a "hard aggression" and has considered that "we must be aware that there are things that are not a price to pay." Thus, he requested the resignation of the president of the RFEF.

Miquel Iceta, the Minister of Culture and Sport, was also forceful. "The first thing that Rubiales must do is give explanations and make excuses," he asked in statements to RNE. "It cannot be that whoever is in charge forces the kiss. It is unacceptable," he added. Irene Montero has also assessed this matter this morning. In his case, he did it through a tweet. "Let's not take for granted that a kiss without consent is "something that happens". It is a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis and until now invisible and that we cannot normalize. It is a job for the whole of society. Consent , in the center. Only yes is yes," the acting Minister for Equality tweeted.

Rubiales' reaction

When the controversy had already spread like wildfire on a global scale, the RFEF sent a statement by Jennifer Hermoso to Efe. "It has been a mutual gesture, totally spontaneous due to the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings - he said -. You cannot go over a gesture of friendship and gratitude". For his part, Rubiales explained to Cope that "it's a kiss between two friends celebrating something": "Let's not pay attention to fools and idiots."

Alba Alfageme, a psychologist specialized in sexist violence, precisely points out in this newspaper that "Rubiales' reaction shows that he is not aware that he is a full-fledged sexist and that this has normalized him." In addition, he says that if the president of the Spanish Football Federation "feels unpunished for doing this in public, what should he not do in private". For Alfageme, "the kiss is the straw that breaks the camel's back and we should not stay with this action alone because there is a brutal problem in the power structure of the women's team that is absolutely worrying."

In this sense, he considers the kiss as "the thread from which to stretch the discrimination and inequality that led 15 players to stand up almost a year ago." Some of them, like the Catalans Mapi León, Patri Guijarro and Claudia Pina, put demands for improvements in the structure of the women's team before playing in the World Cup.

The RFEF protocol considers it "sexual violence"

"According to the RFEF's own protocol, an alleged crime of sexual violence would have been committed," David Moscoso, a professor of sociology at the University of Córdoba who appeared as an expert in the Congress of Deputies during the drafting of the new law, sentenced in the ARA. Spanish Sports Law, in force since last year. On the other hand, the new Sports Law, recalls Moscoso, classifies as "sexist act actions that involve harassment, understanding by this any unwanted behavior related to sex that has the consequence of violating their dignity and creating an intimidating environment, humiliating or offensive."

Fragment of the protocol of action against sexual violence of the RFEF.

The new Sports Law also stipulates that "any action that may be considered discrimination, abuse or sexual harassment and/or sexual harassment for reasons of sex or authority".