Andres Iniesta, a legendary player in Spanish football, said on Sunday that Luis Rubiales’ forced kiss with Jenni Hermoso during the women’s World Cup final was “damaging the image” of Spanish football, adding to the growing condemnation of the country’s suspended federation president.
Iniesta said on his social media accounts, “After what has happened this week, I would like to convey my sadness as a person, as a father of three daughters, as a husband, and as a footballer” at what has occurred in relation to “our football and around the Spanish women’s national team.”
The person who scored the goal against the Netherlands in the 2010 men’s final that won Spain their first World Cup said, “I believe that we cannot tolerate actions like the ones we have seen, which have tarnished such a great milestone as winning a World Cup.”
Following the 1-0 victory against England in the final in Sydney, Hermoso claimed that she “at no time” gave her approval to the kiss on the lips, which Rubiales characterized as “mutual, euphoric, and consensual.”
Hermoso and 80 other Spain players, including the whole World Cup team, declared that they would not participate in international competition unless the “leadership” of the Spanish football organization (RFEF) changed.
The bulk of the coaching staff for the women’s squad has also submitted their resignations.
The RFEF’s Sexual Violence Protection Delegate emphasized on Sunday that a “investigation process” was in progress and that her committee was not responsible for a federation news statement on Saturday in response to Hermoso’s union Futpro.
The Spanish government is working on its own suspension, which might occur Monday, while Rubiales was relieved of his duties by FIFA on Saturday for a period of 90 days.
Since they are not discussing the terrific tournament they had or the beautiful football they taught us all, I can’t even begin to comprehend how the national team players must be feeling right now.
Instead, we have had to put up with a president who has clung to his position and refused to acknowledge that his actions have been wrong and are harming our nation’s and our sport’s reputation abroad.
It’s unfortunate that a lovely tale that so many players have worked so hard to create over so many years has been tarnished.
Rubiales has received criticism from a wide range of sources, not only football.
The American actress Natalie Portman said on Instagram, “I stand with Jenni Hermoso.”
Rubiales will defend himself “so the truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven,” the RFEF said in response to FIFA’s suspension on Saturday.
However, the 46-year-old may have further difficulties given that, according to Spanish media reports published on Sunday, the country’s administrative court for sport (TAD) will convene on Monday to discuss a government request to suspend him from his responsibilities as president.
Depending on how the court interprets the government’s allegations against Rubiales of “very serious offences,” a potential “abuse of authority,” and “acts that undermine sporting dignity or decorum,” this might extend longer than FIFA’s 90-day suspension.
“The only sanctions provided for by the Sports Law are to impose a fine or ineligibility for a period of time of between two and fifteen years,” sports attorney Toni Roca said in a Sunday interview with Spanish public television.
In an interview with the daily newspaper El Pais on Saturday, Spain’s Minister of Sport, Miquel Iceta, said, “We are going to ask the TAD to meet on Monday.”
“We will immediately suspend the president from his duties if the TAD accepts the government’s complaint.”
According to an AFP source familiar with the situation, the RFEF, headed by temporary president Pedro Rocha, has scheduled a second emergency meeting for Monday with the presidents of the regional federations.