The Spanish public prosecutor’s office has opened two inquiries into whether the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, committed sexual harassment or abuse when he kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup triumph.
Rubiales, who has refused to resign despite widespread criticism and calls for his removal, claimed that the kiss was a “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and (done) with consent” gesture of affection and gratitude. However, Hermoso, who scored the winning goal against England in the final, said that she did not consent to the kiss and felt “vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part”.
The UN Human Rights Office has offered its support to Hermoso and praised her for speaking out against sexual harassment and abuse. The UN organization said that everyone has a responsibility to “call out and challenge” such behavior and that Hermoso’s stance could be “a turning point” for women’s rights in sports.
Hermoso and her teammates have also expressed their solidarity with each other and announced that they will not play any more games until Rubiales steps down or is removed from his position. The players’ union FUTPRO said that they are “victims of aggression” and that they demand “respect, dignity and equality” for women’s football.