Spain’s Men’s Team Condemns “Unacceptable Behaviour” of Federation President Luis Rubiales

The recent controversy surrounding Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has caused significant backlash from the men’s national team. Rubiales has faced criticism after kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win. In response, several members of the men’s side have expressed their regret and solidarity with the affected players, condemning Rubiales’ behavior as unacceptable and not representative of the values of the sport.

The statement released by forward Alvaro Morata on behalf of the Spain squad emphasizes that Rubiales has failed to live up to his role as the head of the institution he represents. The team firmly stands on the side of respect, inspiration, inclusion, and diversity, calling for Spanish football to set an example both on and off the field.

While the head coach of the men’s team, Luis de la Fuente, initially applauded Rubiales’ speech in which he refused to resign, he later asked for forgiveness and expressed that he will not step down from his position. Rubiales’ actions have also drawn disciplinary measures from FIFA, which provisionally suspended him, and Spain’s national sports tribunal (TAD), which initiated a misconduct case.

Despite Rubiales’ acknowledgment of making mistakes, he maintains that the kiss was consensual and promises to defend himself to prove the truth. However, the men’s team, along with senior players Marco Asensio, Cesar Azpilicueta, and Rodri, reiterate their pride and congratulations to the women’s national team for their historic World Cup victory. They express regret and solidarity with the affected players, highlighting the significance of their triumph and the inspiration it provides to countless women.

The controversy surrounding Rubiales has extended beyond the football field. Spanish prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident constitutes a crime of sexual assault. Regional leaders of the RFEF have called for Rubiales’ resignation, while his mother protested by going on an “indefinite” hunger strike. However, the head of Spain’s Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, views Rubiales’ actions as an isolated incident not reflective of Spanish sport as a whole.

The RFEF is also facing challenges in its Women’s World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda. Despite most of Vilda’s coaching staff resigning in protest against Rubiales’ refusal to quit, he remains in his post. Additionally, 81 female players, including all 23 World Cup winners, have stated that they will not play for the team as long as Rubiales remains in his role.

The controversy has been further fueled by the emergence of a video showing Hermoso and her teammates laughing and discussing the kiss on the team bus. The video also includes a meme of former Spain men’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas kissing his then-partner during an interview after the country’s 2010 World Cup victory. Hermoso denies that the kiss with Rubiales was consensual, describing it as a non-consensual and disrespectful act that made her feel vulnerable and victimized.

This ongoing controversy highlights the broader issues of consent, respect, and inequality within sports and society. It serves as a reminder that no individual should be subjected to non-consensual behaviors in any setting. The response from the men’s team demonstrates the importance of holding individuals accountable for their actions and upholding the values and principles that the sport represents.

Moving forward, it is crucial for the RFEF to address these issues promptly and take appropriate actions to restore trust and integrity. By doing so, they can set an example for other sporting organizations and promote an environment of respect, inclusivity, and equality both on and off the field.