The recent victory of the Spanish women’s football team in the World Cup has been marred by controversy surrounding the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales. During the awards ceremony, Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, a gesture that has sparked criticism and debate across social media and international press.
Miquel Iceta, the Minister of Culture and Sports, has voiced his opinion on the matter, denouncing Rubiales’ actions as “unacceptable.” In an interview on Radio Nacional España’s program, ‘Las mañanas de RNE’, Iceta not only praised the outstanding performance of the women’s national team but also expressed his concern regarding the president’s behavior towards Hermoso.
“We are on the path to becoming the leading force in women’s football globally, and we have the potential to maintain this position for a long time,” Iceta stated, emphasizing the importance of the team’s achievements. However, he firmly condemned Rubiales’ kiss, stating, “In a time of equality, rights, and respect for women, I find it unacceptable… We must all be particularly cautious in our attitudes and actions. I believe that kissing a player on the lips to congratulate her is inappropriate. As I saw it, we need to address this issue: we all deserve respect.”
“Todos hemos de ser especialmente cuidadosos en nuestras actitudes y nuestras acciones […] Creo que es inaceptable besar en los labios a una jugadora para felicitarla”
— Las Mañanas de RNE (@LasMananas_rne) August 21, 2023
Responding to the speculation surrounding Rubiales’ possible resignation, Iceta emphasized the need for the president to provide an explanation and apologize for his actions. “The logical and reasonable thing to do is to offer an explanation and apologize. Those of us in public positions must exercise extreme caution, as we are sending a message to society: equality of rights is respect. We must avoid any circumstances that could be interpreted as asserting dominance,” Iceta asserted.
The minister concluded by expressing his hope to hear the president’s explanations and a sincere apology. “When he sees the images, he will realize something that perhaps he did not consider at the time,” Iceta added.
This incident highlights the ongoing importance of promoting respect and equality in all aspects of society, including the world of sports. It serves as a reminder that even well-intentioned gestures can be interpreted differently and that it is crucial to be mindful of the messages we convey. As Spain celebrates its victory in the Women’s World Cup, it is essential to ensure that such incidents do not overshadow the team’s achievements and the progress made in women’s football.