Luis Rubiales, the Spanish FA president, doubled — tripled — down in the face of calls for his resignation after kissing Jenni Hermoso, without her consent, during the medal presentation following Spain’s triumph at the Women’s World Cup.
“Do you think this [incident] is so serious that I should go, after the best management in the history of Spanish football? Let me tell you: I’m not going to resign! I’m not going to resign! I’m not going to resign!” Rubiales said.
The day prior, there were multiple reports claiming Rubiales was, indeed, going to resign.
“I’ve come under a lot of pressure. Perhaps somebody will look to remove me on Monday. But we live in a country of laws. Is a consensual kiss enough to remove me? I’m going to fight until the end. I hope the law is followed, and that there’s no reason to [remove me], it won’t happen.”
The kiss was anything but consensual.
In the locker room, during the a live stream on Instagram, someone brought up the kiss where Hermoso said she didn’t like it.
If it was consensual, as Rubiales claims, then there would have been no need to issue an apology. An apology he clearly didn’t think was necessary given his speech and the fact he stood by his actions in the immediate aftermath of the kiss and what followed after when he went down to the locker room stating they were going to go on vacation to Ibiza where he was going to marry Hermoso.
Kiddingly or not, it’s not something you do when there’s already controversy and an outcry for what happened moments earlier.
To make matters worse, he tried to shift the blame onto Hermoso.
“In the moment that Jenni arrived, she lifted me up off the ground. We almost fell over. We hugged. I said, ‘Forget about the penalty, you’ve been fantastic, we wouldn’t have won the World Cup without you.’ She said: ‘You’re great.’ I said, ‘A kiss?’ and she said: ‘Yes.'”
Again, Rubiales tries to play it off as consensual and that Hermoso initiated when there is evidence to the contrary. Rubiales did this in front of a global stage. There are images, videos and Hermoso’s own words to refute his claims.
That he wasn’t removed from his position almost immediately after what he did speaks to how women are treated in the game. From FIFA to the federation to the media. Radio Marca had Ignacio Quereda on to talk about Rubiales and the situation when Quereda was booted as Spain manager for how he treated the players.
If Rubiales doesn’t have the shame to resign, then someone needs to do it for him.
Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias has already announced he will refuse any future call up to the Spain national team unless Rubiales is ousted.
While it remains to be seen whether others in the men’s side will join him, this speaks to the fact this isn’t going to go away.
Rubiales, nor his sympathizers, will be able to sweep this under the rug.
Changes need to be made to Spanish football and despite some of its advancements, there’s plenty left to be done.
There were already a number of players who sat out the World Cup in protest because of the conditions within the national team and its manager Jorge Vilda.
That World Cup was won by the players and in spite of Vilda, not because of him.
Both he and Rubiales need to go.
Given the support Hermoso has received from her teammates, including from Alexia Putellas, there is only way this incident can end.
The only logical solution is to dismiss Luis Rubiales. He doesn’t believe he did anything and that in itself, is a huge problem.