In a show of support for the women’s World Cup-winning team on Monday, the captains of Spain’s men’s national team denounced the “unacceptable behavior” of soccer federation president Luis Rubiales.
After Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final last month, Rubiales, 46, kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips, drawing harsh criticism. In response to the kiss, which Hermoso claimed was not consensual, Rubiales has repeatedly refused to step down. The men’s team has stated their “regret and solidarity with the individuals whose success has been tarnished”.
It was the first time that the top Spanish athletes had publicly criticized Rubiales for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the World Cup final without her permission. FIFA has placed Rubiales on a temporary suspension, and the Spanish government is pursuing legal action against him for the actions that sparked the outrage of condemnation and caused numerous calls for his resignation.
We want to reject what we consider unacceptable behaviour on the part of Mr. Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents. We firmly and unequivocally stand on the side of the values that this sport represents. Spanish soccer must be a driving force for respect, inspiration, inclusion and diversity, and must set an example with its behaviour both on and off the field. It’s a historic milestone filled with significance that will mark a before and after in Spanish women’s football, inspiring countless women with an invaluable triumph. Therefore, we want to express our regret and solidarity with the players whose success has been tarnished.Alvaro Morata read the statement during a news conference alongside athletes from the Spanish men’s team.
César Azpilicueta, Rodri, and Marco Asensio, the other squad captains, stood alongside Morata as he read the statement. The declaration was being read as the other Spanish athletes were seated in the room.
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On September 1, Rubiales said he had “made mistakes” but reiterated his belief that the kiss had been consented to by Jenni Hermoso.