Spain’s Football Federation President Under Fire for Inappropriate Behavior

The recent incident involving the president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales, has sparked controversy and calls for accountability. The government has initiated legal proceedings to suspend Rubiales after he kissed World Cup star Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the presentation ceremony. This incident has prompted comparisons to the MeToo movement, as the Spanish secretary of sport hopes to bring attention to the issue of violence against women in football.

The MeToo movement gained significant traction in 2017 when film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of multiple sexual offenses. Since then, the movement has aimed to create awareness and bring an end to such violence. Rubiales’ actions have drawn criticism from various quarters, including players, clubs, and organizations within the football community.

The government, through the state-run National Sports Council, has initiated a legal procedure which requires Rubiales to provide explanations before the Sport Court. If the court agrees, Rubiales could face a suspension from his position as the federation’s president. The Spanish secretary of sport, Victor Francos, expressed his commitment to holding Rubiales accountable for his actions.

The incident occurred during the presentation ceremony in Sydney, following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win over England. Jenni Hermoso expressed her discomfort with the kiss on social media, stating “I didn’t like it.” Rubiales, however, initially apologized and was expected to announce his resignation at an extraordinary general assembly. However, he later changed his stance and pledged to “fight until the end.”

Another aspect of Rubiales’ behavior came to light when he apologized for grabbing his crotch during celebrations in the VIP area. This act was witnessed by Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter. The combination of these inappropriate actions has led to a growing chorus of voices condemning Rubiales.

Players, both men and women, have expressed their disapproval of Rubiales’ conduct. Alexia Putellas, a Ballon d’Or winner and member of the World Cup-winning team, emphasized that such behavior is unacceptable. Aitana Bonmati, another teammate, also voiced her opposition, stating that there are limits that cannot be crossed. Other football figures, such as Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, have taken a stand by deciding not to return to the national team until accountability is ensured.

The impact of this incident extends beyond Spanish football, as it raises questions about the treatment of women in sports. The MeToo moment that the Spanish secretary of sport desires is a call to action for the entire football community. It is crucial for organizations, authorities, and individuals to address and eradicate any form of violence against women in football.

The legal proceedings against Rubiales will likely set a precedent for how similar incidents are handled in the future. It is essential that the Sport Court takes a firm stance to ensure that inappropriate behavior is not tolerated within the football federation. This case also highlights the need for organizations to prioritize educating their members about appropriate conduct and fostering an environment that promotes respect and equality.

The outcome of this situation will undoubtedly shape the future of Spanish football governance and set an example for other sports federations around the world. It is a crucial moment to reflect on the treatment of women in the sports industry and work towards creating a safe and inclusive environment for all athletes.

As spectators and supporters of the sport, we should be cautious about dismissing such incidents as isolated occurrences. Instead, we must actively promote a culture that holds individuals accountable for their actions and protects the rights and dignity of all athletes, regardless of gender. Only by addressing such issues head-on can we hope to create a future where everyone feels valued and respected within the world of sports.