It’s 2023 and Women’s sport is all the rage right now. People are finally starting to care enough about it. There is nothing better than seeing fellow women getting recognized for their talent. But just when you thought the world was all rainbows and unicorns, the Spain World Cup controversy made its debut. 

What is the Spain World Cup controversy?

It all started when the Spanish team player Jennifer Hermoso was celebrating her win post the England-Spain World Cup final. Spain had just defeated England 1-0 in Sydney. A strike from fullback Olga Carmona in the 29th minute was just enough to hold off England and Spain lifted its first-ever World Cup.

Upon hugging Rubiales, instead of a professional handshake she was met with a kiss by the president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales. This action has since sparked a debate over whether the kiss was inappropriate or a mere celebration.

Reaction from Hermoso

In an Instagram video during celebrations, Hermoso said: “I did not like it, but what could I do?”

However, right after the World Cup celebrations, Hermoso defended the president in an interview. 

“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings.” She insisted.

A statement defending Rubiales’ actions was also released by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). However, Hermoso also specified that she had been under continuous pressure to make a statement to justify Rubiales’ actions.

“That’s why I told the RFEF, as well as the media and people close to me, that I didn’t want to make any kind of individual or collective statement on this matter.” 

In a statement released on Friday, Hermoso reiterated that at no moment did she consent to the kiss. 

“I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part.”

Reaction from Rubiales

Rubiales has been under fire since these events. He made it very clear that there will be no resignation. Moreover, he also stressed that the kiss had been a mutual decision.

“I said to her ‘a little peck?’ and she said ‘OK’.”

The president said that he would defend himself in court against politicians, including two ministers, who called this an act of sexual violence.

Reaction from others

Spanish players, clubs, and organizations have all spoken out against the incident. It seems as if the World Cup win has been long forgotten and the Spain World Cup controversy has taken over the world.

In a joint statement sent via their FUTPRO union all 23 of the cup-winning squad including Hermoso, as well as 32 other squad members, said they would not play internationals while Rubiales remains head of the RREF.

Spain’s coach, Jorge Vilda, has called the kiss ‘inappropriate’ and 11 of his coaching team have quit in Hermoso’s support.

Borja Iglesias, who has won two caps for the Spain men’s team, has decided not to play until this matter is sorted out.

“I have made the decision not to return to the national team until things change and these types of acts do not go unpunished.” 

England’s Lionesses, who were defeated by Spain in the World Cup have also sided with Hermoso in this gross turn of events. 

Fifa announced that it is suspending Rubiales for 90 days from all football activity as the disciplinary proceedings continue.

It seems as though these events have become the “Me Too” of Spain. Gender issues have only recently become an important discussion in Spain. However, Rubiales’ reaction indicates that there is still a long way to go. 

Many people have defended him and chalked the kiss up to be an act of passion that “is no big deal”. So many comments have also advised Hermoso to “just get over it”. This goes on to show how little people seem to understand the reason behind the outrage. The power dynamic in these types of situations, the toll it takes on the individual, and how it causes other players to be silenced are all factors that come into play here.

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