Jennifer Hermoso has clarified that she did not provide consent to Luis Rubiales before he kissed her following Spain’s World Cup victory last week.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales has faced criticism for forcibly kissing the Spanish star while presenting medals to the world champions.
Despite his claims that Hermoso had agreed to the kiss, she has refuted the notion of her consent.
Additionally, she has revealed that she was coerced into making a statement that downplayed the incident.
She said in her own statement on Friday: “I feel obliged to report that Mr Rubiales’ words explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated. The kiss was never consensual. I was asked to make a joint statement to alleviate the pressure but all that was in my mind was to enjoy a historic milestone. Despite my decision, I have been under constant pressure to make a statement to justify Mr Rubiales’ actions.”
She added: “The situation shocked me given the celebrations that were taking place at the moment and with the passage of time and after delving a little deeper into those initial feelings, I feel the need to report this incident because I believe that no person, in any work, sports, or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviors. I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part.
“Simply put, I was not respected.”
On Friday, despite reports suggesting his resignation, the 46-year-old declined to step down as president. He further claimed that a “social assassination” was being conducted against him.
Hermoso feels that Rubiales didn’t respect her
Nevertheless, a significant number of Hermoso’s fellow Spain players have expressed their solidarity with the 33-year-old. A total of 81 players have affirmed their stance to boycott playing for the national team until Rubiales is ousted from his role.
A statement released by the players’ union FutPro said: “As a result of the events that occurred this morning and given the perplexity of the speech delivered by the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Mr. Luis Manuel Rubiales Bejar, the players of the senior team, recent world champions, in support of Jennifer Hermoso, want to express their firm and resounding condemnation of the behavior that violated the dignity of women.”
FutPro continued: “We want to end this statement by asking for real changes, both sporting and structural, that help the National Team to continue growing, in order to transfer this great success to later generations.
“It fills us with sadness that such an unacceptable event is managing to tarnish the greatest sporting success of Spanish women’s football. After everything that happened during the Women’s World Cup, we want to state that all the players who sign this letter will not return to a call for the National Team if the current leaders continue.”
All 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad have endorsed the statement, along with 58 other footballers, urging Rubiales to resign from his position.
In response, the Spanish government has initiated legal proceedings against Rubiales, and FIFA has initiated disciplinary actions as well.