A lengthy lip-lock was just one of the inappropriate actions that tarnished the trophy ceremony of the Women’s World Cup champions that left a Spanish striker saying, “Yeah, I did not enjoy that.”
In a matchup against England in the final, Spain’s La Roja became their nation’s first ever women’s champions in a 1-0 victory. However, the enthusiasm from Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales appeared to cross a line and, ultimately, led to an apology.
Footage from the trophy ceremony showed as the procession of players marched on stage to be congratulated from officials that included Rubiales. Each women was greeted with a hug, some more enthusiastically than others, and a kiss on the cheek until Jennifer Hermoso stood before him.
It was at that point that the man could be seen holding the player by the head as he kissed her directly on the mouth multiple times before sending her on her way, with a pat on her back.
“The concerning fact here is the nonchalant manner Rubiales behaves towards Hermoso,” the account for SHE scores bangers wrote on X. The FA president does this on the biggest stage of the sport with royalty and officials near him, surrounded by cameras. Very disturbing, and frankly, concerning.”
The concerning fact here is the nonchalant manner Rubiales behaves towards Hermoso.
The FA president does this on the biggest stage of the sport with royalty and officials near him, surrounded by cameras.
Very disturbing, and frankly, concerning. pic.twitter.com/Hh89dfWX4S
— SHE scores bangers (@SHEscoresbanger) August 20, 2023
Other images of the president’s behavior around the team were shared that included moments when he was inside their locker room after the match where someone had inquired of Hermoso whether Rubiales had used his tongue.
anyone else had the creeps with Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales? he was so inappropriate with the players and literally kissed hermoso on the mouth??? she publicly stated that she didnt enjoy it. what tf is going on? pic.twitter.com/IXkhzsNoZL
— (@CrazyClownytr) August 20, 2023
— Old Man Edwin (@OldMan_Edwin) August 21, 2023
Luis Rubiales, the literal PRESIDENT
of RFEF having no issue with kissing
Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the
medal ceremony — and then kissing
match-winner Olga straight after…?
Afterwards on Instagram live Jenni
even said: “I didn’t like that”, before
one of the staff in the… pic.twitter.com/GSsD09Jqdq
— Michael (@MichaelEmilio_) August 21, 2023
I’m not Spanish. But this video, as reported by other journalists, shows a conversation where Hermoso is asked by players and staff about the kiss Rubiales gives her on the podium.
She says she didn’t enjoy it and a male staff asks if he used tongue. pic.twitter.com/95XjgcKC3z
— Robin Mumford (@RobinMumford17) August 20, 2023
“Yeah, I did not enjoy that,” she reportedly told The Telegraph.
However, she also said during an interview with Spain’s EFE “It was a mutual, totally spontaneous gesture because of the huge joy of winning a World Cup. The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship. His behavior with us has been a ’10.’ It was a natural gesture, of affection and gratitude … We’ve won a World Cup, and we won’t get away from what’s important.”
Additional footage of Rubiales showed him cheering the team on as they were victorious with a celebratory crotch grab in the stands.
Spanish Federation President Luis Rubiales grabs his crotch in the moment of Spanish victory in the VVIP Section, where he was seated besides members of the Spanish Royal Family. He would proceed to kiss Jenni Hermoso on the mouth during the trophy presentation. Hermoso later… pic.twitter.com/cSF9dlNk2p
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) August 21, 2023
Reacting to the incident Spanish officials offered their displeasure with Rubiales for his behavior around the team from which 15 players had signed a letter in September with complaints about their coach Jorge Vilda’s treatment of them.
Spanish Equality Minister Irene Montero had posted on X, “Let’s not assume that giving a kiss without consent is something ‘that happens.’ It is a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis and until now invisible, and that we cannot normalize. It is the task of the whole society. Consent in the center. Only yes is yes.”
No demos por hecho que dar un beso sin consentimiento es algo “que pasa”. Es una forma de violencia sexual que sufrimos las mujeres de forma cotidiana y hasta ahora invisible, y que no podemos normalizar. Es tarea de toda la sociedad. El consentimiento en el centro. Solo sí es sí
— Irene Montero (@IreneMontero) August 20, 2023
Similarly, Spanish Minister for Culture and Sport Miquel Iceta told an RNE broadcaster, “It seems unacceptable to me. We’re in a moment of equality, of rights and respect for women. We all have to be particularly careful in our attitudes and our actions. I think it’s unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her.”
Following the incident, Rubiales released a video apologizing at length for which one translation read, “I made a mistake, for sure. I have to accept it. In a moment of such emotion, without any bad intention or bad faith, what happened, happened, in a very spontaneous way. [There was] no bad faith from either side.”
| ⚽️ ÚLTIMA HORA: Exigen la renuncia de Luis Rubiales, presidente de la RFEF, por beso inapropiado a la futbolista Jennifer Hermoso y gesto controvertido en presencia de la Reina y la FIFA.
Rubiales se ha disculpado tras el incidente: “Probablemente me equivoqué”. Asegura que… pic.twitter.com/y6nzmRRrb0
— UHN Plus (@UHN_Plus) August 21, 2023
“Here we saw it as something natural and normal. But on the outside it has caused a stir,” he continued, “because people have felt hurt by it, so I have to apologize: there’s no alternative. I have to learn from this and understand that a president of an institution as important as the federation — above all in ceremonies and that kind of thing — should be more careful.”
Rubiales also said, “So, I want to apologize to those people…I’m also saddened, because this is the biggest success in our history in women’s football, the second World Cup that we’ve won, and this has affected the celebration.”
Others shared their own distaste for the president’s behavior with blanket condemnation.
Thank you. Gracias.
— Ellen Gerstein (@elleinthecity) August 21, 2023
— Gift MLB (@MlbGift) August 21, 2023
— NonStopFootball (@nsf365) August 21, 2023
Unbelievable that one may think this is acceptable behaviour. Certainly casts a new light onto behaviour that has been allowed to go on within that federation! Do we remember the 15 players who complained they were told they had to leave their bedroom doors unlocked!!!?
— MMD (@mer1dam) August 20, 2023
She’s literally at work being sexually harrassed..on television. This is not okay
— Christina Dawn (@PeckChristina) August 21, 2023
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