Spanish FA chief apologises after backlash to kissing Jenni Hermoso
The photo has sadly become one of the most talked about moments of the tournament.
The chief of the Spanish Football Association has acknowledged that kissing one of the team’s players on the lips “tarnished the celebration” of winning the women’s World Cup.
Spain beat England 1-0 on Sunday’s final in Sydney to lift the trophy for the first time in the country’s history.
Luis Rubiales, who is also the vice president of UEFA and a member of their ruling executive committee, released a video statement on Monday to apologise for the incident in which he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips.
“I have to apologize," he said, "Probably I made a mistake.”
“We saw it as something natural, normal and not in bad faith, but there are people who this has hurt and I have to apologise. There’s no other way, is there?” he said before admitting that the celebrations had been “tarnished” by his actions.
Rabiales changed his tune from Sunday night when, in a late night interview, he described his critics as 'losers' before playing down the incident.
Luis Rubiales, the Spanish soccer federation chief, issued something of an apology after drawing outrage by forcefully kissing the Spanish forward Jennifer Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup medals ceremony.
“Probably I made a mistake,” he said.https://t.co/HPvKRIkiH9
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 22, 2023
“There is something I regret, and it was what happened between me and a player, with whom I have a fantastic relationship, just like with the others, where I have certainly made a mistake. I have to admit it.
“In that moment of absolute exultation, without any bad intentions or bad faith, well… that happened. I believe it happened in a very spontaneous way, which I repeat had no bad intentions from either side.
“From that point on, it wasn’t interpreted that way as we carried on as normal, naturally, and again with no ill will between us. But outside of that it seems like it has caused a commotion as it seemed to do damage, so I want to apologise for it, I don’t ask for anything else.”
Miquel Iceta, the country’s acting minister of sports and culture labelled his behaviour as “unacceptable” while Spain’s minister of quality, Irene Montero, called it “a form of sexual violence that we women suffer on a daily basis and until now has been invisible.”
Hermoso has also addressed the footage herself but instead opted to defend Rubiales who had been “outstanding” with the squad.
“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” she said.
“The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”