By John Ensor • 26 August 2023 • 17:59
Jenni Hermoso on the left.
The Spanish Women Football team’s incredible unifying achievements of last week have sadly become overshadowed by a deeper issue that threatens to divide.
The Spanish football governing body has now issued a legal threat against Jenni Hermoso, accusing her of spreading falsehoods about the federation’s president, writes The Guardian, Saturday, August 26.
Jenni Hermoso, the footballer at the heart of this dispute, has claimed that the federation’s president, Luis Rubiales, kissed her without her consent following their World Cup triumph. ‘At no time did I consent to the kiss,’ Hermoso stated. ‘I won’t tolerate having my word doubted, much less have people inventing things that I didn’t say.’
The federation swiftly countered with a statement suggesting Hermoso had given her consent for the kiss and that she shared a close bond with Rubiales. However, a Madrid-based sports portal, Relevo, suggested that Hermoso was pressured into making this statement, an allegation the federation has denied.
In a detailed response, Hermoso mentioned, ‘I don’t want to interfere in the legal process but I feel obliged to report that the words used by Sr Luis Rubiales to explain what happened are categorically untrue and are part of the manipulative culture that he himself has created. I have not been respected.’
The governing body presented a series of images from the incident, arguing that Hermoso was not just a willing participant but initiated the kiss.
Rubiales, in a lengthy address, portrayed himself as a victim of a smear campaign and ‘fake feminism.’ This defence, along with the federation’s stance, is now viewed as a broader conflict between Spain’s traditional male-dominated mindset and its progressive feminist movement.
Miquel Iceta, the minister for sports and culture, told El País, ‘I regret that for Spain, a country admired around the world as a champion of rights and freedoms, this episode has taken us back to an image of machista Spain in which women’s rights are not respected. It’s a backward step.’
Yolanda Díaz, the acting vice-president of Spain, remarked, ‘Señor Rubiales doesn’t understand what he’s done. He’s not up to the job. He should resign and save us the embarrassment. The days of impunity for macho behaviour are over.’
The England women’s team, who were defeated by Spain in the World Cup final, voiced their support on social media, stating: ‘The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn’t need convincing to take action against any form of harassment. We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team.’
These recent events have called into question the actions and motives of Sr Rubiales and Spanish Football’s governing body. For the future health of women’s sport and the wider issue of women’s rights all around the world, the call for sanity and reason has never been stronger.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
When he's not writing for EWN he enjoys gigging in a acoustic duo, looking after their four dogs, four chickens, two cats, and cycling up mountains very slowly.
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