Jenni Hermoso says she did not consent to be kissed by Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales – as 81 players confirm they will not play for Spain’s national team until he is removed from his post.
Rubiales has refused to resign after kissing forward Hermoso following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win over England.
The Spanish government started legal proceedings seeking to suspend the 46-year-old, while Fifa has also launched disciplinary proceedings.
Rubiales had been widely expected to resign at an extraordinary general assembly called by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), but instead said “I don’t deserve this manhunt”.
He added: “It was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric and consensual. That’s the key. A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here?”
But a statement released by players’ union Futpro included quotes from Hermoso, which read: “I want to clarify, that at no time did I consent to the kiss. I don’t tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I haven’t said.”
The statement was signed by a host of players, including all 23 members of the squad which just won the World Cup.
It read: “After everything that happened during the delivery of medals of the Women’s World Cup, we want to state that all the players who sign this letter will not return to a call for the national team if the current leaders continue.”
Spain’s next game is against Sweden in the Nations League on 22 September.
Borja Iglesias, who plays for Real Betis, said earlier on Friday he would not play for the men’s national team again while Rubiales is in charge.
More to follow.