Hermoso dismisses Rubiales kiss amid outcry


Spain forward Jenni Hermoso has dismissed Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales’ kiss during the post-World Cup final medal presentation as a “spontaneous gesture” blaming “the emotion of the moment.”

Rubiales has received widespread criticism for the incident, including from Spain’s equality minister who described it as “sexual violence.”

Rubiales greeted Hermoso on the podium by grabbing her head in his hands and kissing her on the lips, although he has hit back saying those who condemned his actions are “idiots.”

Hermoso, who is Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, had a second-half penalty saved by England goalkeeper Mary Earps before Spain clinched a 1-0 victory to win their first world title.

“It was the emotion of the moment,” Hermoso told Cadena COPE on Sunday. “There’s nothing else there. It’s no big deal.”

“It was a mutual, totally spontaneous gesture because of the huge joy of winning a World Cup,” she later told the news agency EFE. “The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship. His behaviour with has been a ’10’ [out of 10.] It was a natural gesture, of affection and gratitude… We’ve won a World Cup and we won’t get away from what’s important.”

Hermoso, 33, had earlier joked that she “didn’t like” the kiss during a live stream on Instagram.

Hermoso, who was seen drinking champagne, appeared to indicate she couldn’t do anything about the kiss by adding: “But what do I do? Look at me? Look at me?”

When asked about the incident by Radio Marca, Rubiales described people condemning his actions as “idiots.”

“There are idiots everywhere,” Rubiales said. “When two people have a gesture of affection, that isn’t important, we can’t pay attention to idiocy. We’re [world] champions and I’ll focus on that.”

“It was a ‘peck’ between two friends celebrating something,” Rubiales then told Cadena COPE. “With everything I’ve been through, more nonsense… no. We won’t pay attention, we’ll enjoy the good things… There was no bad intention.”

Spain’s equality minister Irene Montero condemned Rubiales’ actions.

“Let’s not assume that giving a kiss without consent is something ‘that happens.’ It is a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis and until now invisible, and that we cannot normalize. It is the task of the whole society. Consent in the centre. Only yes is yes,” Montero said in a Twitter post.

Spain won the World Cup despite ongoing issues behind the scenes within the squad, following controversy in October when 15 players wrote to the RFEF to raise concerns about the professionalism of coach Jorge Vilda.

Despite the complaints by many of the team’s senior players, Rubiales voiced his support for Vilda, who only selected three of the 15 players for his World Cup squad.

Rubiales has spoken publicly of his backing for Vilda several times during Spain’s World Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand.


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