clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rubiales is weaker than ever after disgracefully stealing Women’s World Cup spotlight

“The gesture was unacceptable, the apology is not enough nor adequate,“ says Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez.

Collage of 3 pictures of Luis Rubiales, one where he’s kissing Olga Carmona on the cheeks, one kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips, and one where he greets the president of Spain Pedro Sánchez

Years of trying to hide and make football fans forget how Luis Rubiales doesn’t truly care about Spanish football, but does care about publicity, have gone down the drain. It only took a final of the Women’s World Cup in Sydney for the fire to start. This fire will not be easy to put out.

Spain faced England in the World Cup final on August 20 and there were some familiar faces accompanying the Spanish national team. During the duration of the tournament, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, accompanied the squad and even though he didn’t miss an opportunity to show himself in front of cameras, he managed not to draw too much attention to himself. That is until the final night. Spain were leading since minute 29 with the goal of Olga Carmona, and Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter Infanta Sofía were on the balcony cheering for the winning goal. Rubiales was standing a couple of steps away from the royal family and was seen doing an inappropriate gesture — grabbing his crotch in excitement. Now that is surely an embarrassing look for him and the RFEF in front of the whole world and the members of the royal family, but this detail came out only after another embarrassing event seen live on international television.

Spain had won and the players were on their way to the podium to receive their earned gold medals. After greeting the FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, the Queen and Infanta, Rubiales would wait to greet the players as well. The president of the RFEF would pick up and kiss the players to congratulate them. At first, it seemed like an ecstatic way of congratulating the players for conquering the biggest tournament in football, but it quickly turned into creepy gestures. The main gesture that caught headlines was the one where he clearly kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips.

Now, saying that Spaniards are an affectionate nation doesn’t cover kissing your employee, as it also stands in the RFEF rulebook. Not long after the ceremony Hermoso went on a live stream on Instagram in which one of her teammates mentioned the kiss. Hermoso made a comment on it, saying, “But I didn’t like it.” Not only was it inappropriate to do this in front of cameras where millions could see, but it would also be considered sexual assault.

Like the detail where he acted inappropriate in front of the members of the Spanish royal family, there were a few more that caught the people’s attention. Olga Carmona was given a camera during the celebration on pitch where she acted goofy with her teammates celebrating the victory, before Rubiales came to do what he does best: appear on the camera without a reason. Not only did he appear, but randomly kissed Carmona on the cheek. One more detail would be a picture that was made famous by AS where the president picked up Athenea del Castillo in a very odd manner:

The squad had a long trip home on the 21st and had only arrived around 21:30 to the Madrid airport and then went straight to the streets to celebrate the victory with the people of Madrid. While they were travelling and celebrating in the skies, the world found out about Rubiales and his kiss with Hermoso. The fire had started and developed through the day. The former Real Madrid goalkeeper and captain, Iker Casillas, went to his social media to ask for the destitution of the president of RFEF. Casillas was also Rubiales’s competition in the RFEF presidential elections back in 2020 when the retired goalkeeper had to retire from his candidature amidst the pandemic.

Luis Rubiales took action not long after this tweet had gone up, posting a so-called apology, which only he thought could be categorized as an apology.

“There is a fact that I have to regret and it’s because of everything that has happened between me and a player, with a magnificent relationship between the two, as well as with others, and where I have surely been wrong. I have to recognize it. Because in a moment of maximum effusiveness, without any doubts there were any bad intentions, well, what happened happened, I think spontaneously. I repeat, without bad intentions on either side. Here it was not understood that what we saw was somewhat natural, normal, and with no bad intentions at all, but outside it seems that a commotion has formed. Since of course there are people who have felt hurt because of this, I have to apologize, learn from this and understand that when you are president you have to be more careful,” says Rubiales in an attempt to apologize.

Later it was learned that Rubiales tried to convince Jenni into appearing in a public video to apologize to her, but she refused. He also worked with the national team coach, Jorge Vilda, trying to get to her family to do this apology. They didn’t want any more attention saying that they believe Jenni has the right to celebrate the world cup and that it’s the most important thing at the moment. The RFEF has also tried to put words into Jenni’s mouth, trying to make everyone believe that she said that what happened happened and that he apologized anyway. A few hours after this, the claim was dismantled. They tried to do the same thing with Ivana Andrés, trying to put words into the captain’s mouth, but it turned out she had also refused to participate in any apology video.

On the morning of August 22nd, the Spanish national team had a formal meeting with the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, for a formal recognition for the title of the world champions. In this meeting, the Prime Minister greeted the players and the staff. The captain, Ivana Andrés held a quick speech, thanking the Sánchez for having them and saying how honored the team was to be able to present the world cup trophy. The Prime Minister thanked them back saying how they have now become inspiration for many.

However, it was after the formal meeting that the Prime Minister made a special statement condemning Rubiales’s actions and the apology he had posted.

“There have been some behaviors, in this case that of Mr. Rubiales, that do show something that in our country there’s still a long way to go in terms of equality and respect and in equalization of rights between women and men. For this reason, well, in short, I believe that what we saw was an unacceptable gesture. I also believe that the apologies that Mr. Rubiales has given are not enough, I even believe that they are not adequate and that therefore he has to continue taking steps,” speaks Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s Prime Minister.

In the evening, the president of Liga F Beatriz Álvarez had posted an official statement.

“One of the greatest feats in the history of Spanish sport was sullied by the embarrassing behavior of the highest representative of Spanish football who, once again, and guided by his continuous and habitual desire for leadership, proved not to be up to the task he holds. (...) It’s not just about the kiss. It is an attitude that is far removed from the values of our society. An attitude that has gone down in the history of world sport and, most seriously, that will remain forever linked to our Women’s National Team. (...) This is an unprecedented international embarrassment for the Spain Brand, for Spanish sport and for world women’s football. (...) The Professional Women’s Football League is the symbol of a change. It is recognition of the commitment and sacrifice of so many soccer players, so many clubs and so many people who have spent decades fighting for the role of women in soccer. And for this reason, as an institution, out of conviction, responsibility and respect for sport, we cannot allow this episode to go without consequences. (...) It’s time to take a step forward. The opposite would be a humiliation for all women and the biggest defeat of Spanish sport and our country.”

A lot more claims came in accusing the president of the RFEF of public humiliation, which is not hard to prove because, well, it’s about public humiliation. Tamara Ramos, former marketing director of AFE and co-founder of Futbolistas ON has spoken on ‘El Programa de Ana Dar’:

“I have suffered humiliation and beatings from Rubiales. It has been outrageous for a long time. What surprises me is that he does it in public. He told me in front of everyone ‘Did you come here to put on your knee pads?’ Or he was wondering what color underwear I was wearing.”

Interestingly enough, RFEF came with an official statement denying all claims of Tamara Ramos and accusing her of defamation of Luis Rubiales. This statement left the public wondering how something so easily proven can be denied like this.

Athletes and politicians from all around the world have taken a stand against Rubiales condemning his behavior. The RFEF has called an urgent general assembly taking place on Friday, the 25th of August.

The saga is developing with every hour that passes and it’s the turn of the organizations inside of the RFEF to decide whether to take a stand. Liga F has announced that their delegates will be their taking their stand at the general assembly, while some clubs have either not said anything yet or announced they wouldn’t be attending the assembly. Because of this, there’s also a chance the assembly won’t take place since it’s needed for at least 50% of representatives to attend.

On the other side of the story, Jenni Hermoso has decided to leave her communications with a mediator - the association FUTPRO whose task it is to protect the interests of its players.

“My FUTPRO union, in coordination with my TMJ agency, are taking charge of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter,” states Hermoso.

The celebrations of the world champions are still going on and it seems that Hermoso has taken upon herself to make it clear that they want to enjoy their deserved off time. However, the rest of the Spanish media didn’t take a hint. The quote above was all that Jenni stated, the rest of the statement comes from FUTPRO which includes that they wish to proceed with sanctions.

“From FUTPRO we express our firm and resounding condemnation of behaviors that violate the dignity of women. From our association we ask the Royal Spanish Football Federation to implement the necessary protocols, ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures. It is essential that our team, the current world champion, is always represented by figures who project values of equality and respect in all areas,“ states FUTPRO.

The Spanish newspaper AS obviously hasn’t taken the hint by putting Hermoso on the cover putting “Jenni drops Rubiales” as the headline. This line implies that the player decided to let this all go by simply putting her communications in FUTPRO’s hands, instead letting everything go through her first. Naturally, the cover has received a huge backlash.

During the day of 24th of August, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee opened disciplinary proceedings against Luis Rubiales. The tension has been growing, it’s become more than obvious. Interestingly enough, even the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, posted a vague tweet. “Good morning!” he says, with a picture of an iceberg.

Hours later, it showed that Mr. Tebas’s vague post might have referred to the news everyone has been waiting for. Hugo Pereira, a journalist for ESdiario has apparently got an exclusive that Luis Rubiales is resigning and that it might be a matter of hours for the official announcement. Carrusel Deportivo then assured that Rubiales would not be able to run for the RFEF elections again.

This particular spotlight really came in handy to help change Spanish football. The World Cup trophy might not be the only trophy won — the other being the resignation of Rubiales.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Managing Madrid Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Real Madrid news from Managing Madrid