Luis Rubiales and Spain’s World Cup Kissing Scandal: What to Know

Luis Rubiales and Spain’s World Cup Kissing Scandal: What to Know

When the Spanish ladies’s nationwide soccer staff gained the World Cup closing this month, their compatriots had little time to have fun earlier than the habits of the nation’s high soccer official prompted an issue over misogyny and sexual assault.

Through the ceremony after the staff’s victory, Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation, forcibly kissed Jennifer Hermoso, a star ahead, on the lips — a transfer that Ms. Hermoso later described as “an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act with none consent on my half.”

Regardless of quite a few requires him to resign, Mr. Rubiales has forcefully defended his conduct and insisted that the kiss was consensual. However final weekend, FIFA, the world’s high soccer physique, suspended him and barred him from contacting Ms. Hermoso. On Monday, Spanish prosecutors opened a prison investigation into Mr. Rubiales’s conduct, and later that day, his personal affiliation known as on him to step down instantly.

Here’s what to know in regards to the occasions.

Throughout a ceremony after Spain’s 1-0 victory over England within the closing on Aug. 20, Mr. Rubiales kissed Ms. Hermoso on the lips, an act that was captured on video.

Mr. Rubiales initially apologized for kissing Ms. Hermoso however later backtracked, insisting in remarks on Friday that the act had been “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual.” He additionally accused his critics of participating in “false feminism.”

Ms. Hermoso stated that she had not consented to the kiss and that she had confronted stress to publicly play down Mr. Rubiales’s actions. She stated in a statement on Friday that “no particular person, in any work, sports activities, or social setting, must be a sufferer of most of these nonconsensual behaviors.”

Many in Spain have lamented that the kiss has redirected a jubilant nation’s consideration away from the victorious staff towards an issue centered on Mr. Rubiales. However some soccer gamers and feminist activists have pointed to entrenched sexism within the sport that lengthy predates the scandal.

The earlier head coach of the Spanish ladies’s nationwide staff, Ignacio Quereda, was ousted in 2015 amid accusations of sexism. And his successor, Jorge Vilda, has additionally confronted complaints. Final 12 months, greater than a dozen gamers refused to play on the ladies’s nationwide staff amid complaints of unequal pay, intrusive remedy by Mr. Vilda and a basic tradition of sexism.

Some Spanish commentators and authorities officers have known as the kiss a #MeToo second for soccer, one of many nation’s most entrenched bastions of machismo — a way of masculine satisfaction and entitlement. Activists have used the slogan “se acabó,” that means “it’s over,” to name for modifications.

“We’re prepared for this to be the #MeToo of Spanish soccer and for this to be a change,” Victor Francos Díaz, who directs Spain’s Nationwide Sports activities Council, informed reporters on Friday.

Yolanda Díaz, the nation’s labor minister, wrote on social media on Monday that “the combat of feminine gamers is that of the entire society.”

A profession soccer participant born within the Canary Islands and raised in Motril in southern Spain, Mr. Rubiales, 46, by no means turned a family title as a defender on the sphere.

However he rose via the ranks off the sphere, turning into the chief of the Spanish gamers’ affiliation in 2010 after which head of the federation — Spanish soccer’s governing physique, which represents men and women — in 2018.

One in every of Mr. Rubiales’s first selections after taking cost of the group was to dismiss the boys’s nationwide staff coach on the eve of the 2018 World Cup. Extra lately, an uncle he had appointed to his workers on the federation accused him of utilizing soccer funds for personal occasions, claims that Mr. Rubiales denied.

In a 2022 interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, Mr. Rubiales stated the group had obtained about 70 “complaints and comparable actions” throughout his tenure. He denied any wrongdoing.

“We’ve got all the time carried out every little thing with the utmost potential scrupulousness as regards the legislation and our convictions,” Mr. Rubiales informed El País on the time.

Spain’s principal soccer federation, the main union of professional female soccer players and main politicians, together with authorities ministers, have denounced Mr. Rubiales’s conduct and known as for him to resign.

Members of the ladies’s nationwide staff, together with dozens of different gamers, have vowed to not play for Spain “if the present managers proceed.”

On Monday, Spanish prosecutors stated they had been investing the episode as a possible act of sexual assault, against the law punishable below Spanish legislation by years in jail.

The soccer federation that Mr. Rubiales leads initially backed him and issued a press release saying that he “didn’t lie.” However late Monday, after a protracted emergency assembly, it reversed course and known as for him to step down, citing “unacceptable behaviors which have significantly broken the repute of Spanish soccer.”

On Saturday, FIFA, the world’s governing soccer physique, stated it had suspended Mr. Rubiales whereas it investigated the episode. FIFA additionally ordered each Mr. Rubiales and the Spanish soccer federation to not contact Ms. Hermoso.

Mr. Rubiales’s mom has been on a starvation strike in a church since Monday, protesting the remedy of her son. On Wednesday, a priest informed reporters that she had gone to the hospital due to tiredness and anemic issues.

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