The Spanish women’s football team has announced that it will not play again until the Spanish Football Federation’s president, Luis Rubiales, resigns. The team released a statement on Friday Condemnation of Rubiales’ behavior after the team’s World Cup win, according to Marca.
During the on-pitch celebration after Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the World Cup final, Rubiales forcefully kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips. The moment was caught on video and sparked calls for Rubiales to resign. Rubiales apologized for his actions a day later, claiming there was “no ill will on either side”.
Demands for Rubiales’ resignation continued, and reports surfaced Thursday suggesting Rubiales would comply. However, on Friday he changed course and steadfastly refused to step down from office during an Extraordinary General Assembly with members of the Spanish Football Federation.
“Our union would like to emphasize that no woman should feel the need to react to the haunting images that the whole world has seen and that of course she should not engage in non-consensual attitudes,” the players said in the released statement by FutPro.
“The players of the Spanish national football team, reigning world champions, expect strong responses from the public authorities so that such acts do not go unpunished.”
After everything that happened during the Women’s World Cup, we want to make it clear that any players who sign this letter will not return to a call-up for the national team if the current leaders continue. The mandatory players are: Jennifer Hermoso; Alexia Putellas; Mass Rodriguez; Irene Paredes; Ona Batlle; Mariona Caldentey; Teresa Abelleira; Maria Perez; tasting collection; Aitana Bonmati; Laia Codina; Claudia Zornoza; Oihane Hernandez; Rocio Galvez; Irene Guerrero; Round Alba; Athena del Castillo; Eve Navarro; Enith Hall; Ivana Andres; Salma Paralluelo, Esther González, Olga Carmona (23 world champions, editor’s note); Patricia Guijarro; Lola Gallardo; Nerea Eizagirre; Ainhoa Moraza; Maria Leon “Mapi”; Sandra towels; Claudia Pina; Amaiur Sarriegi; Leila Ouahabi; Laia Alexandri; Lucy Garcia; Andrea Pereira; Vero Boquete; Ainhoa Tirapu; Sandra Villanova; Ana Romero “Willy”; Silvia Meseguer; Nagore Calderon; Carmen Arce “Kubalita”; Priscilla Borgia; Natalia Pablos; Susan Guerrero; Larraitz Lucas; Elizabeth Benedict; Amanda Sampedro; Isabel Fuentes; Elizabeth Sanchez; Mari Paz Azagra; Vanessa Gimbert; Virginia Torrecilla; Leire Landa; Elizabeth Ibarra; and Martha Torrejon.
At the beginning of the statement, Hermoso clarified that she did not agree to being kissed by Rubiales after the victory. Rubiales claimed on Friday that the kiss was mutual, justifying staying in character. He also claimed that this is the kind of kiss he would give one of his daughters.
Rubiales’ announcement and his refusal to resign was met with applause from members of the Spanish Football Federation present at the gathering.
FIFA announced on Thursday that it would launch an investigation into the matter. According to Rubiales’ statements on Friday, it could be up to FIFA to decide whether he can continue in his current role.