The Spanish Football Federation threatened to take legal action against one of the stars of the Spanish national team, Jennifer Hermoso, accusing her of lying about the kiss of federation president Luis Rubiales.
Hermoso said on Friday that at no point did she agree to a kiss from the country’s football chief – at the medal ceremony last Sunday after Spain won the Women’s World Cup – and wrote on social media: “I felt vulnerable and victim of a rush. motivated, sexist and misplaced behavior without any consent on my part.
In a statement Friday, in response to Hermoso and the Spanish Association of Professional Footballers (FUTPRO), the federation defended Rubiales, who described the kiss as “mutual” and spoke of “unfair” and “fake feminist” campaigns.
“The evidence is overwhelming. The president did not lie,” the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said, along with describing images that attempted to support Rubiales’ claim.
“The RFEF and the president will bring to light all falsehoods spread by someone on behalf of the player, or, if possible, by the player himself.
“The Spanish Football Federation and the president, given the seriousness of the content of the press release issued by the Football Federation, will take appropriate legal measures,” the statement read.
The federation went on to say that players have an “obligation” to take part in matches “if asked to do so”, after all 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad participated. Among them, Hermoso, and nearly 50 other professional soccer players, said they would not play again for the country until Rubiales was sacked.
CNN has reached out to FIFA and UEFA (European soccer’s governing body).
On Thursday, FIFA said it had opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales because he may have breached the “fundamental rules of proper behaviour” in the game.
After Spain beat England in the Women’s World Cup final, Rubiales was photographed kissing Hermoso on the lips after she collected a winners’ medal, an act the 33-year-old said later that day she “didn’t like” and “didn’t I wasn’t expecting.”
Rubiales, who said on Monday he had “made a mistake”, came under fire all week from the soccer world and some Spanish politicians, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who apologized for what he called the “mistake”. An “unacceptable gesture” was “inadequate”.
But the scandal escalated on Friday when Rubiales made a bold speech to the federation’s extraordinary general assembly, in which he emphatically stated that he would not resign.
In response to Rubiales’ letter, Hermoso said the Spanish federation president’s explanation of the incident was “categorically” false, adding: “I want to repeat, as I did before, that I did not like this incident.”
In a statement posted on the players’ association FUTPRO and shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, the national team players said those who signed the statement “will not apply for selection for the national team as long as the de facto leadership remains in power”. place.”
“We are saddened that this act, so unacceptable, succeeds in tarnishing the greatest sporting achievement in the history of Spanish women’s football,” the statement read.
Following Rubiales’ comments on Friday, the head of Spain’s Supreme Sports Council, Victor Francos, said the council would look to suspend Rubiales as soon as possible with due legal process.
The Commission for Sustainable Development is an independent decision-making body of the Spanish government’s Ministry of Culture and Sports, which has the potential power to demand Rubiales’ dismissal. However, to do so, the commission needs to go through a series of required steps, including filing a complaint against him and hearing the case before the court.
And while he admitted on Friday that he needed to apologize for his actions, Rubiales described calls for his resignation as a “witch-hunt”.
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