Luis Rubiales: Spain’s football president is under fire after giving the World Cup winner a surprise kiss on the lips


The president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, is facing criticism for giving Spanish midfielder Jennifer Hermoso a surprise kiss on the lips after the 33-year-old picked up the gold medal following the team’s Women’s World Cup final victory over England on Sunday.

Rubiales was on stage for the FIFA Awards Gala after the final, along with other dignitaries, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Spain’s Queen Letizia and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The video shows Rubiales hugging Hermoso, then placing her hands on her head before kissing her. Then he pats her back as she walks away.

“Hey, I didn’t like it, eh,” Hermoso says as she appears to answer questions about the incident in an Instagram Live video — a clip of which was Posted by Spanish journalist Irati Vida on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Later in the Instagram live video — taken in Spain’s locker room — Hermoso answered a question from another woman: “But what have you been doing, sister?” The 33-year-old replied: “But what should I do?”

On the radio program El Tiempo de Juego on Cadena COPE, Hermoso Talk about the kiss on Sunday, saying she “didn’t expect it” but “it was because of the emotion of the moment, there’s nothing there. It’s just going to be an anecdote.” [of the time]. I’m pretty sure it won’t be blown up any more.”

Asked by Radio Marca about the Hermoso incident, Rubiales replied: “The kiss with Jenny? There are idiots everywhere. When two people have a moment of affection without any importance, we cannot listen to the idiocy. We are heroes and I stay with that.”

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But on Monday, the Spanish political party Sumar called for Rubiales’ resignation, while Spain’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Mikel Eseta, RTVE said that the kiss was “unacceptable”.

“I think it’s unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her. And as far as I’ve seen… I think it has to be said. We all deserve respect,” Isita said. “I think, first of all, what he has to do is give an explanation and show region. I think that’s the logical and rational thing to do.”

After Spain’s victory on Sunday, Alberto Ortega, of Spain’s El Confidencial, said, Posted on X That “Rubiales taking the cup from the players to give it to Queen Letizia and kissing Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth is disgusting”.

New evidence of the need for camera absorption [be the center of attention] And be the protagonist when it’s not his turn,” Ortega added.

Colin Millar, a journalist for the Daily Mirror who writes about European football for the British newspaper, called Rubiales’ behavior “unacceptable”.

“This is the highlight of a footballer’s career and they are very emotionally charged,” he wrote Millar on X.

Hermoso wasn’t the only Spanish player Rubiales kissed in the post-match celebrations.

After other members of the Spanish team collect their medals, Rubiales’ video shows him kissing them both on the cheeks as well as holding each other in his arms.

Another video shows Rubiales interrupting a group of Spanish players celebrating, before kissing Olga Carmona, who scored the winning goal for Spain in a 1-0 win over England, on the cheek.

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In a video posted by Spanish star Salma Baraluelo in a live broadcast on Instagram, Rubiales is shown entering the dressing room and telling the Spanish players that the Spanish Football Federation will pay for a trip to Ibiza for them, and that is where Hermoso will marry.

CNN has reached out to Hermoso’s agent about the incident and also the press officer for RFEF in Australia for comment, but no response was heard at the time of publication.

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