Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sanchez has demanded an explanation from the country’s FA president Luis Rubiales for kissing women’s team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth following the Women’s World Cup final.
The controversy overshadowed Spain’s 1-0 win against England in Australia, with Rubiales facing a backlash for his behaviour towards Jenni Hermoso, who later admitted she ‘did not enjoy’ the kiss.
Rubiales, 45, had been part of the receiving line of dignitaries for the trophy-lifting ceremony and stood alongside, or near, Spain’s Queen Letizia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Each of the players then had their hands shaken and cheeks kissed.
Initially, Rubiales defended his actions but later, in a video address published following condemnation from leading politicians, admitted he had made a mistake.
Sanchez, the acting leader of the government, believes that the statement was ‘not adequate’ and has asked Rubiales to further clarify his controversial actions.
He said: ‘The players have done everything to win, but it is true that there have been some unacceptable behaviors that show that in our country there is still a long way to go in terms of equality, respect, and equalization of women’s rights.
‘Apologies are not enough, nor adequate. Mr Rubiales must continue to take steps to clarify what we have seen.’
Rubiales has since been accused of committing ‘sexual violence’ by Spain’s acting Equality Minister, Irene Montero, who emphasised the importance of consent.
‘There is also something I regret and it’s over something that happened between a female player and myself who enjoy a magnificent relationship the same as I have with other women players,’ Rubiales had said in his apology.
‘I’ve no doubt made a mistake and I have to admit it.’
It has now emerged that Rubiales unsuccessfully pleaded with Hermoso to film an apology video with him on the flight back from Australia.
According to Relevo in Spain, the travelling group, including Rubiales and the players – were aware of the fierce criticism in the wake of the kissing incident. It is said that Rubiales was keen to shoot the clip at Doha airport to issue an explanation.
He reportedly acknowledged his position was at stake to the player and begged for her support, only for Hermoso to refuse, such was her desire to focus on the trophy.
Despite his intention to be discreet, his request may have been observed or overheard by several members of the 300-strong group.
Manager Jorge Vilda is thought to have later spoken to Hermoso’s family, who were allegedly advised to speak out and downplay the severity of the issue.