Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has been criticised for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup.
Rubiales kissed Hermoso during the presentation ceremony following Spain’s 1-0 win over England in Sunday’s final.
“I didn’t like it,” Hermoso said on Instagram, but a statement released later on her behalf defended Rubiales.
Government minister Irene Montero said: “It’s a form of sexual violence women suffer on a daily basis.”
Montero, Spain’s equalities minster, added that up to now it had been “invisible” and that it is something “we can’t normalise”.
“We should not assume kissing without consent is something ‘that happens’,” she said.
In comments later released by the Spanish football federation Hermoso – Spain’s all-time leading scorer – said the moment was a “natural gesture of affection”.
“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” the 31-year-old forward added.
Rubiales’ actions were heavily criticised on social media, with ‘dimision ya’ – ‘resign now’ in English – trending on X, formerly known as Twitter, in Spain.
Rubiales told Spanish broadcaster COPE that it was “a kiss between two friends celebrating something” and those who saw it differently as “idiots and stupid people”.
“Let’s ignore them and enjoy the good things,” he added.
Spanish newspaper El Pais ran the headline “Jenni didn’t like Rubiales’ kiss, neither did we”.
Spain won the World Cup despite controversy over coach Jorge Vilda, who survived a player revolt to keep his job.
The RFEF said in September 2022 that 15 players had submitted identical emails saying they would not play for Vilda unless “significant” concerns over their “emotional state” and “health” were addressed.
However, the RFEF continued to back Vilda and posted ‘VILDA IN’ on Spain’s official X account after their World Cup triumph.