Spain football boss apologises for kissing Jenni Hermoso on lips at World Cup final: ‘I was wrong’

Tribute To Women Football Of Spain

Spain’s football chief has apologised for kissing World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the celebration of their country’s Women’s World Cup victory over England. 

The incident, which sparked outrage in Spain, happened as football federation president, Luis Rubiales, handed Spanish players their medals after they beat England 1-0 in the final in Sydney on Sunday (20 August). 

Post-game footage appears to show Rubiales kissing other players on the cheek and embracing them as he hands them their medals. 

According to various video footage, Hermoso told teammates in the changing room that she “didn’t like” the kiss, but later, in a statement sent by the federation to Spanish news agency EFE, downplayed the incident.

“It was a mutual gesture that was totally spontaneous prompted by the huge joy of winning a World Cup,” Hermoso said. “The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has always been 10 [out of 10] and this was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”

Several government ministers and media commentators criticised Rubiales, with acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta telling RNE radio that the kiss was “unacceptable” and calling on the football chief to explain and apologise. 

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Spanish fans were also outraged with one describing it as a “a shameful gesture”, while talking to Reuters.

“It was totally out of place. As always happens, men try to shadow women celebrations,” they said.

Another supporter said: “I understand the emotion, the moment, but it is not justified and nor what he said about kissing a player.” 

In a video statement issued by Spain’s football federation, Rubiales responded by saying: “I was wrong, I have to admit. It was without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness.” 

The year’s tourment has been hailed by many as the greatest ever, for the displays on the pitch and the support from fans.

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