World Cup champs join Spanish national team strike after Rubiales refuses to resign

Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso joined a mass strike of female players on Friday after saying she did not consent to being kissed by her country's soccer federation chief, Luis Rubiales, after Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup final.

In a statement released by women players' union Futpro, Hermoso and 80 other players said they would not accept an international call-up "if the current leadership continues" at the Spanish federation (RFEF).

Rubiales, 46, defied expectations by refusing to resign at an emergency RFEF meeting earlier Friday.

The chief said in a fiery speech that his kiss on Hermoso's lips during the World Cup final medal ceremony on Sunday was "mutual, euphoric and consensual" and she had said "OK" when he asked her if he could give her "a peck."

He also asserted that "she was the one who lifted me in her arms and brought me close to her body."

However, Hermoso hit back strongly against his claims later Friday, saying she felt "vulnerable and the victim of an assault".

"I want to clarify that at no time did I consent to the kiss that he gave me and in no case did I seek to lift up the president," Hermoso said in the Futpro statement.

'They invent words.'
"I do not tolerate my word being questioned and much less that they invent words that I did not say."

Futpro said in the statement that every player signing it, which included the 23 World Cup winners, were taking a stand to force change.

"It fills us with sadness that such an unacceptable event is succeeding in tarnishing the greatest sporting success of Spanish women's soccer," it read. "We wish to declare that all the players signing this document will not return to a national team squad if the current leadership continues."

Before the World Cup 15 players had taken a similar stance against the federation and coach Jorge Vilda, but many relented and three were part of the team's triumph in Australia and New Zealand.

Many players, including double Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas, had written messages of support for Hermoso on social media, some including the phrase "it's over" -- potentially referring to Rubiales' leadership of Spanish soccer.

Now Putellas, Hermoso, player of the tournament Aitana Bonmati and many other players say they will not play for Spain again until Rubiales and potentially others leave their posts.

Rubiales had said he was planning on renewing controversial coach Vilda's contract and hiking his salary, during his speech.

The Spanish government have started a process which may allow them to suspend Rubiales from his post, while FIFA have opened a disciplinary investigation into his behaviour at the final.

Hermoso published a separate statement on her own social media accounts which went into depth.

"(Rubiales' words are) part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated," wrote Hermoso. "I am sure that as a world champions we do not deserve a culture which is so manipulative, hostile and controlling.

"This type of incident joins a long list of situations that us players have been reporting in the last few years ... this is just the straw that broke the camel's back and all the world was able to see it.

"Attitudes like this have been part of the day to day of our national team for years."

'I will not resign.' Hermoso's words and the player strike came in the wake of Rubiales' defiant speech and refusal to bow to the immense pressure against him. "I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign," shouted Rubiales at the RFEF meeting.

Rubiales said the pressure he has received this week was an attempt "to publicly assassinate me" with Vilda and others applauding his words.

Rubiales said he had been "hunted" since taking the job in May 2018, while insisting his kiss could not be compared to sexual assault.

"For god's sake, what will women think who have really been sexually assaulted?" said Rubiales.

Before the vast majority of Spain's most talented players decided to strike, politicians and other figures criticized Rubiales.

"What we have seen today at the federation assembly is unacceptable," wrote second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz on social network X, formerly known as Twitter. "The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for macho actions is over."

The country's High Council of Sport (CSD) said it would move against Rubiales.
It promised to submit complaints it had received about the incident to the Spanish Sports Court (TAD).
"I think that this could be the 'Me Too' of Spanish soccer," CSD president Victor Francos told a news conference, explaining he would be able to suspend Rubiales if TAD decides to initiate proceedings against him next week.


© Agence France-Presse
21 comments about "World Cup champs join Spanish national team strike after Rubiales refuses to resign".
  1. Bob Ashpole, August 25, 2023 at 7:28 p.m.

    What he deserves is a FIFA ban.

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, August 26, 2023 at 8:45 a.m.

    It will be Interesting to see how FIFA reacts to the Spanish Government Involvement...
    In the Past, They would Suspend THE WHOLE FEDERATION, for "Governmental Interference" in a FIFA Controlled Federation...
    Now, if he is Brought Up on "Charges" that's Different.
    The Bozo should Resign and Save everyone A Lot of Wasted Time;
    Even in Spanish Machismo; Nowadays; You don't Kiss A Subordinate.... Man or Woman... EVEN IF THEY ASK FOR IT.!!!
    (Which I doubt she did, and Even if he asked her, she probably thought he ment another on the cheek)
    I've Spent A LOT of Time In and Out of Spain....
    2 "Pecks" on the Cheek... Very Common...

  3. John Richardson, August 25, 2023 at 9 p.m.

    Im surprised the board hasnt fired him. Wait til Hermoso files a sexual harrassement law suit. Im sure this is being worked on.  We all need to support Spain in ridding this toxic idiot from football. 

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, August 26, 2023 at 8:52 a.m.

    Rubiales side seeing this as a "He said; She Said"
    Stupid(Fireable) of the Boss; to Even ASK a Subordinate for a Kiss; (Much Less "Take It") is they way they should See it.

  5. Santiago 1314, August 26, 2023 at 8:55 a.m.

    Breaking News on Marca... FIFA has SUSPENDED Rubiales.!!!
    It happened at a FIFA Event, So they say they can Intervene.

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2023 at 11:05 a.m.

    Wow! That was fast. It wasn't just any event either.

  7. Philip Carragher, August 26, 2023 at 9:52 a.m.

    Where is U.S. Soccer in all of this?

  8. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 10:53 a.m.

    Philip, what do you want US soccer to do, in light of the Gio incident and their wonderful display of that sh*tshow. Hey, guess what, I think I read somewhere our women soccer league will be wearing wristbands in support of the Spanish player who was inappropriately kissed. I can think of better things to support with wristbands that is more meaningful like  supporting  those women ,kids being, killed or raped  coming across our border.  Our women's movement is really on top of things....

  9. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2023 at 11:11 a.m.

    Frank, CONCACAF has representatives on the governing council. USSF has influence. 

  10. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 11:21 a.m.

    Bob, read this whole article and look at all the pictures...and see what you think

    Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales is SUSPENDED by FIFA hours after he threatened to sue footballer Jenni Hermoso over World Cup kiss 'lies' but STILL insists he will 'defend himself' as Gary Lineker welcomes his ousting | Daily Mail Online

  11. Philip Carragher replied, August 26, 2023 at 12:21 p.m.

    This may sound silly, but what message does a referee send when allowing a dangerous foul to go unpunished? Answer: it's ok to do it. I watched almost all of the visible video of the trophy ceremony. Without even considering the hoopla surrounding the Spanish team before the ceremony, his behavior was reprehensible. When considering the concerns and scrutiny the Spanish women's program was under, what he did was beyond irresponsible. (I'd like to see a video, not still pictures, of the moments leading up to the kiss.) Even if Hermoso wasn't there and the kiss never happened, his behavior with the other players shouldn't be condoned. It should be publically condemned. Otherwise, it sends a terrible message.

  12. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 12:36 p.m.

    Philip, I'd say ,bring it all on and show it....good suggestion.....

  13. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 1:49 p.m.

    I think one major reason why he doesn't want to resign is that he's signed a 5year contract paying him 500,000 Euros a year.....

  14. Philip Carragher replied, August 26, 2023 at 2:21 p.m.

    Frank, no wonder. Big bucks. Money is a big issue for the players too. Does FIFA send the federation the WC money that these women have to hope then gets properly distributed to them?

  15. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 3 p.m.

    Philip, Check this dutch video. See what the Spanish Coach does with one of his 3min:26sec
    into the video.....

  16. Philip Carragher replied, August 26, 2023 at 3:25 p.m.

    Frank, did the coach ask permission? And did she say, "Vale"? All joking aside, these guys of questionable integrity hold the keys to what happens to these players' careers and earnings. How scary it must be for them to voice objections and concerns.

  17. frank schoon replied, August 26, 2023 at 3:34 p.m.

    Philip, I don't know what's going on behind the scenes with this whole Spanish Women soccer thing...I think we'll hear  more 

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, August 26, 2023 at 5:36 p.m.

    Frank, I don't need to see more pictures. He is the head of the FA and she is an employee. In the US it would still be illegal if the employee consented because of the negative impact on the workplace. But from the pictures I saw, it was a criminal assault under US law. Notice the women's right leg raised off the ground indicating he grabbed and pulled her to him. Did you see the pictures of his carrying a player over his shoulder.

    I don't know what the law is in Spain, but kissing an unrelated women I image is a serious social breach. Rubiales should consider hiring private security. I am not culturally Spanish, but if he did that to my daughter....  Some things are universal. This was an insult seen world-wide. An apology would not satisfy my anger. 

    Judging from the reaction of the Spanish FA, he ruined the player's international career. Judging from the reaction of the FA, Rubiales, the WNT coaches and the players, the nation is badly split over this. We may see the entire FA leadership ousted.

  19. Kevin Leahy, August 26, 2023 at 12:14 p.m.

    I do find it strange that none of the other federations have really chimed in. The only comments from the USSF was a comment that, was asked for. Silence from all the federations is not a good sign and Rubiales stand would probably win out if it weren't for all to see.

  20. cony konstin, August 26, 2023 at 12:44 p.m.

    It is not just Spanish football that this is happening. The NWSL has also gone through this sickness and abuse. We can not let this happen to our sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins or just any woman anymore. 
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". Edmund Burke 1770

  21. Philip Carragher replied, August 26, 2023 at 12:50 p.m.

    Good points Cony. The NWSL should also condemn this.

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