What the hell is happening in the Spanish national football federation??

Last weekend, many people were rooting for the Spanish team – but not the Spanish football federation- during the Women’s World Cup. The Spanish national team had publicized their problems with the team’s coaches and male staffers, and they were pointing out (as many women’s teams have and will continue to) that they are treated with appalling sexism and menace within their own football federation. The women were brave to speak up before the World Cup, and the experience bonded them and they won the big prize. For the trophy presentation, Queen Letizia, Princess Sofia and the Spanish football federation’s Luis Rubiales were all on the stage to pass out medals and congratulate the team. Every one of the women got a big hug from Sofia, Letizia and… Luis Rubiales. Rubiales was fully groping and grabbing at every player on the team. When Jenni Hermoso passed by, Rubiales grabbed her and planted a kiss on her mouth.

A day later, she said that the kiss was unwanted and unwelcome. Her team stood by her. Several prominent male footballers in Spain stood by her. The women’s team said they would not play again unless Rubiales was fired. The Spanish football federation responded by… calling Hermoso a liar, threatening to sue her and telling the team that they were required to play. Well, when a federation is too corrupt and sexist for even FIFA, that speaks volumes, but here we are. FIFA has now suspended Rubiales.

Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on Women’s World Cup Winner Jenni Hermoso has triggered a crisis in Spanish soccer, with world governing body FIFA suspending the president and Spain’s women’s coaches resigning en masse. FIFA said it was suspending Rubiales from “all football-related activities at national and international level” for 90 days while disciplinary proceedings are underway, deepening a scandal that tainted a historic victory for the women’s team.

Rubiales says the kiss was consensual and has refused to resign over the incident despite fierce criticism from Hermoso, her teammates and the Spanish government. Hermoso said the kiss was unwanted and she and the entire World Cup-winning squad have refused to play while Rubiales remains president.

“I did not like this incident,” she wrote in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist out of place act without any consent on my part.”

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has stood by the president, threatening legal action against Hermoso and others. FIFA also banned Rubiales and the Spanish football federation from contacting Hermoso, to preserve her “fundamental rights.” Following the kiss – seen by millions of viewers around the world – Hermoso said she had been asked to “alleviate the pressure” on Rubiales. After the news of the FIFA ruling, the RFEF named an interim president and said that Rubiales maintained his innocence.

FIFA’s suspension comes after the scandal escalated further when Spain’s soccer federation threatened to take legal action against Hermoso, accusing the 33-year-old athlete of lying about being kissed by Rubiales. “The evidence is conclusive. The President has not lied,” the federation said, alongside descriptions of photos attempting to support Rubiales’ claim. On Saturday, the federation doubled down on its accusations of lying against Hermoso. In a since deleted statement, the RFEF said, “We have to state that Ms. Jennifer Hermoso lies in every statement she makes against the president” and again threatened legal action. It is unclear why the RFEF chose to delete the statement from its website.

[From CNN]

It’s genuinely insane and I feel so sorry for the Spanish women’s team that they not only have to deal with a sexual predator, they have to deal with a powerful football federation gaslighting them on a global scale. There needs to be a major house-cleaning here – I have no idea how the federation is structured, but whoever is ultimately in charge (the government, surely?) needs to fire all of these men, starting with Rubiales and then continuing with all of his cheerleaders within the federation, the ones who are vigorously defending him publicly and calling Hermoso a liar.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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64 Responses to “What the hell is happening in the Spanish national football federation??”

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  1. Flowerlake says:

    What an utter disgrace!

    Men ruining their world cup experience.
    Puke worthy.

    One consolation: social media will go nuts on them.

    She has lots of support on her instagram already.

    • AlpineWitch says:

      It’s bonkers and it speaks of double standards in every way, it literally happened during live TV!

      It’d have been like calling Chris Rock a liar after ‘The Slap’…..

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        Are they trying to make the case that he didn’t kiss her? Because the photos are everywhere. Even if they claim he kissed her with her consent it’s not credible. He’s holding her head so tightly she can’t move!

    • Fabiola says:

      How he has not been fired immediately is crazy. What a disgusting pig of a man.

      • Anne says:

        I was grossed out by his behaviour well before the kiss even. The grabbing of his crotch and then picking the women up like dolls and kissing into their necks was well past the typical kiss on the cheek.

      • dimdamdom says:

        sure he had a b°ner ! beurk

    • bananapanda says:

      This started pre-World Cup – this Spring ~15 Spanish players demanded the coach be fired and REFA refused. Some of those players stayed home, while others ended up going to Australia. It is a mess bc neither group wins – stick to your principles and lose out on the World Cup, go and feel like you sold your teammates out.

      Now this.

      Remember, Spain is the country known for fans throwing bananas (!!!) at black players, then suspending those players when they walk off the field. WTF.

  2. Pinkosaurus says:

    I am so furious for these amazing women that they are forced to work for these appalling, disgusting men to play a game they live. I hope Jenni and the whole team can stay strong and perservere through the pressure, and for a complete housekeeping removing this @sshole and all his supporters. He was also pictured grabbing his crotch with both hands in front of the press and near the Queen and Princess as a disgusting display of “winning”. He is entirely gross and unsportsmanlike.

  3. seaflower says:

    He is disgusting. It runs so much deeper that the rat Rubiales. Here is the women’s manager Vilda grabbing a female coaching staff members breast at the same game. https://twitter.com/LuxMeaMundiAM/status/1695650886477848965

    • BeanieBean says:

      Good gad! They’re not safe anywhere! Right out in public, in front of millions! The brazenness of it all! The hubris! And that Rubiales was grabbing every single one of those players for full-on body contact. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was watching that! I thought, OK, the queen is hugging, the Infanta is hugging, hugging is OK, but this guy—-way too far! He was taking his opportunity to grope! And then the head grabbing kiss, unbelievable!

  4. ThatsNotOkay says:

    Why can’t people keep EVERYTHING to themselves?! Just never touch anyone else unless you get their express permission!

    And holy hell there is toxicity in that organization. I imagine it runs deep in other ones as well. There needs to be a reckoning and a cleaning of houses throughout many sports entities, male and female, to foster a less pervasively sexist mentality throughout all sports.

  5. ML says:

    ❤️💛Jenn1 Hermos0❣️

    The corruption and abusive culture in Spanish football is gobsmacking. Now that FIFA suspended Rubiales for 3 months while they investigate him (slow clap because it only took FIFA six days after they realized that they couldn’t ignore the scandal s/), Vilda apparently has changed his mind on the kiss! Hopefully he’ll soon be gone as well now that his staff has resigned and Rubiales isn’t there to protect him at the moment. Can we now concentrate on UEFA, where Rubiales is a VP, for not saying a damn thing about their dude?
    It’s ridiculous that the Spanish team has had such a difficult work environment. A Dutch player, Merel van Dongen, who plays professionally in Spain explained the situation last night on Nieuwsuur. One of the creepy things the Spanish players were forced to do was leave their doors unlocked so Vilda could come in late at night and check on them. Truly creepy and wrong!

    • sunny says:

      I hadn’t heard about the door part, WTF? That is disgusting! Do you know how toxic and visible something needs to be for FIFA to take action? What a horrible thing for the players to experience at the height of their professional success.

  6. smegmoria says:

    This has been making me mad all week. My husband went to his mom’s house yesterday and she was talking about how it shouldn’t ruin this man’s life. Fortunately he set her straight.

    • Bettyrose says:

      That was the thing he did in public in front of cameras. What’s his level of aggression when the cameras are off? Does your MIL not get that?

      • smegmoria says:

        No, she doesn’t get that. She’s very old school about everything like this. My husband always explains things to her though and she seems to get it in the moment. She always reverts back to that kind of thinking.

    • Debbie says:

      Just show her that photo posted above by @Seaflower. Then she’ll see the whole toxic environment that professional players have to put up with. And tell your mother-in-law that Vilda, the guy photographed grabbing the woman’s breast at work and in full view of the public, also thinks the kiss is no big deal. One picture is worth a thousand words really.

    • Moxylady says:

      I mean ….
      Remember that V day kiss where the sailor grabbed the nurse and kissed her? He didn’t know her. I believe she was engaged to be married. He just grabbed her and kissed her. They got a photo of it and then he let her go and kept on celebrating. And she had just been violated by one of the many service men she had spent the past however many years tending to.

      And it’s been a hugely popular romantic photos for decades.

      Times they are a changing. But they need to change faster.

  7. Eurydice says:

    The coaching staff has resigned in support of Hermoso and the Spanish government has come out in support of her and is investigating. So, I don’t think things are going to go well for Rubiales and the FA.

  8. lolalola says:

    I just cannot believe the reaction to sue from the Federation. It’s so shocking & stupid that I thought I had read it incorrectly. Spain cannot have an international sports team that is not supported by their own league. Time to clean house, yes but not just Rubiales. All his Federation supporters need to go.

    • ML says:

      Shocking and infuriating especially as it’s easily based on a falsehood! Jenni said in the locker room that she didn’t like the kiss and explained the situation. The effing football association planted a *fake* statement supposedly from Jenni stating that what Rubiales did was no big deal and they’re threatening to sue her over their own fake statement! And all the other women who support her!

    • Eleonor says:

      They are taking the victim blame on a new level, it’s insane.

    • bisynaptic says:

      Can’t wait!

  9. TQ says:

    Rubiales is such a misogynistic pig. As others have said above, on just that day it was the kiss, the crotch grab, and him saying he’d marry Hermoso in the locker room. For him to claim consent to the kiss shows a clear lack of understanding of the concept, which is horrible. And as someone mentioned above, Vilda grabbed the breast of his female staffer after the win. Vilda was the only one not to step down in protest, and has only just condemned Rubiales’s behavior. And all the stuff coming out about Rubiales not allowing the female players to lock their hotel room doors so he could check on them?? The Spanish players quitting en masse in the months before the Women’s World Cup highlighted these issues in that letter they sent, but no one in Spanish football organization cared. Now their wonderful win is overshadowed by this nonsense. Absolutely shameful. But great to see footballers around the world standing up for these women.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      I feel so badly for the players having all these repulsive pigs tarnishing their victory.

      • Blithe says:

        This is all appalling — and represents an ongoing toxic, abusive work environment for these athletes. It is heartening to see the widespread, public support that these women are getting. Perhaps, as with the US women’s gymnastics team (Nassar abuse )these public discussions of a publicly recorded and witnessed abusive situation will shine a light on the pervasiveness of sexual abuse — and lead to repercussions for the perpetrators, and, ultimately, a safe environment for the athletes.

    • Yup, Me says:

      It seems to me that the win is serving a greater purpose. It has put the eyes of the world on this team so all of this can come out and be addressed. They have global support (and international witnesses) it can’t be ignored or downplayed.

  10. Rapunzel says:

    I just…. what gaslighting. Saying Jenni Hermoso is a liar, when it’s literally on camera what he did. The audacity.

  11. Visa Diva says:

    Its truly horrible, yet not surprising in women’s soccer. Zambia’s coach had been accused of misconduct and still coaches. Haiti had a Federation official who was kicked out of the Federation for rape and then had the ruling overturned so he’s back. Federations fail to protect players and gaslight them when they come forward with complaints


    • ML says:

      Good depressing articles. Deutsche Welle had one too; reading about how FIFA wires the salaries over to corrupt football organizations, which then keep some money for themselves is distressing. Do is the section on sexual abuse, because harassment is too common and pervasive in women’s football.

    • Chelsea says:

      Thank you for bringing up these cases as well. It is so horrific that Zambia’s coach e was accused of sexual misconduct in the past yet allowed to be at the FIFAWWC where he allegedly assualted a player again. FIFA bears a lot of responsibility for this; as an organization you should be able to keep an environment where the players are safe. Instead at least 2 players were sexually assaulted at this year’s FIFA WWC by men whose behavior had already prompted their players to speak up on them. Disgusting.

  12. Amy Bee says:

    This is disgusting. Someone had to step in to stop this madness. The entire Spanish Federation needs to be kicked out.

  13. tamsin says:

    FIFA and corruption are wedded. I don’t see how this corruption and abuse can be just cleaned up. It seems that as long as the organization is run by men, there will be no justice or equality for the women. Hope the world rallies around the team.

  14. Peanut Butter says:

    I’m so glad this misogynisic crap is getting the negative attention it deserves. This is so long overdue. Thank you to the Spanish women’s team and its supporters who are standing firm. How I wish Queen Letizia and King Felipe would issue a fierce public condemnation against Rubiales and his apologists.

  15. zinjazin says:

    Puttung her in a headlock like that and slobber on her mouth, that is a power move and intended to publicy dominate and silence her/and her team how horrible and toxic. Just wow.
    I hope the the spanish women can stand up to get some changes but this probably goes deep.
    Good that FIFA suspended him, I thought they would be on his side honestly with their history..

    • No1SportsFan says:

      I wouldn’t give FIFA too much credit. They suspended him for 90 days during the slow/off season. This is a PR move, it’s nothing more than a hollow gesture meant to ride out the news cycle.

    • Visa Diva says:

      I’d keep an eye out for in 90 days for FIFA to quietly drop the suspension. The goid old boys network is alive and well in soccer

  16. MY3CENTS says:

    Just came to say thank you for covering this.
    I was reading about this in other outlets I was hoping you would!

  17. Anita says:

    I watched the video of the hug and kiss. The way he hugged the players made me uncomfortable, and I also got an uneasy vibe coming from the players approaching the man.

    Sure, he was in a good mood and they had just won the World Cup, but he’s hugging them in a way that’s — uncomfortable, like a man hugging a woman to feel her breasts while he’s hugging her… Sure, it was a hug, but it was over the top to feel the breasts.
    I had the feeling that the players were uncomfortable approaching him, but they didn’t want to spoil the moment and just went with it.

    • Anne says:

      The video was so uncomfortable and it sucks that the players had to experience that at such an amazing time. And the justification is so putrid — “he was euphoric and didn’t mean it with malice.”

      His state of mind at the moment is not the issue. CONSENT is the issue. It doesn’t matter if he was happy, sad, depressed, euphoric — grabbing her head and kissing her on the lips is unacceptable in all scenarios.

      It’s unbelievable that people are trying to defend his actions in any way.

  18. SarahCS says:

    I am so pleased this is still in the news and still being discussed. We have now seen how hard the men in charge are willing to push back on any threat to their behaviour and many, many people are watching and paying attention. I had heard that things were bad for the Spanish women’s team and this has put the global spotlight on their treatment. I continue to hope that positive change comes from these events.

  19. Mslove says:

    I’m not a violent person, but my first thought was that Luis Rubiales deserves a football kick straight to balls.

    I hope all sports teams worldwide publicly stand with Jenni Hermoso.

  20. Meg says:

    This infuriates me because the focus should be on their winning not him making hre trophy presentation about him but if course! Men were butt hurt about Barbie so of course they’re mad women get attention for winning the world cup!
    The pics of him grabbing her head, he knew she was not comfortable which is why he held her head like that. Who does that with someone they’re not in mostly a private intimate moment with? He knew she wanted to not be there and he physically held her there. In front of everyone! The nerve of this guy

  21. Cel2495 says:

    It’s disgusting! How in the world something like that is consensual? She has just won a tournament, pass by to receive her medal and this pig grabs her face forcibly and kiss her on the lips. How she asked for this ? He is a pig.

    A better response would have been to apologize and say that he was taken by the excitement of the moment and he knows is wrong and apologize to Jenni publicly as well as privately and take some or all the time off. This is clearly a larger problem. But no, he proceeds to discredit her and gaslight her in a public way.. F that guy! He needs to be fired not suspended.

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  24. Lizzie says:

    Young women need to be taught how to, and it’s okay, to defend themselves from assault. Be it a forced kiss or grabbing a body part. A punch in the mouth seem appropriate. Both WC teams were let down by those claiming to support them. Also, this guy defending his actions, I think the US gymnastics doc who is in jail for assaulting players is still saying he did nothing wrong. Scumbags lie.

    • Blithe says:

      You do realize that you’re advocating “a punch in the mouth” when the people the “young women” are punching may be far stronger and far more experienced punchers, right? While I def applaud teaching self-defense, part of staying safe is knowing how to assess your potential opponents. Someone comfortable with forcing their sexual attentions on another person is probably equally comfortable with punching them back, and the consequences of that could be debilitating.

    • Moxylady says:

      Ok. Listen up.
      I am a woman. I have a second degree black belt. I trained in martial arts 4 times a week for 10 years. I spent countless hours sparing and fighting men. Self defense for women is awesome. But it should not in any way be relied on. The power imbalance is massive. And there are very few ways to overcome that physical difference even with years of training.

      It’s that exact training which frustrates the shit out of me when people say stuff like this.

      Men are so much stronger than women. They have so much more force behind a punch and they also have a lot more mass to absorb a punch. This isn’t a movie. That shit is not real. You punch a man in the face, you are going to piss him off. I literally carry a roll of quarters with me in case I even am in a physical confrontation so I can hit harder than physics allows just me.

      If a woman is ever in a fight, she needs to try to get away. If that’s not an option, you go HARD to do damage. I’m talking eye gouging, eye raking, nose smashing with the intent to push the bones up into their skull, throat punches and anything surprising / groin. Only to get you time to fucking run and hopefully incapacitate them enough that you have a decent head start. And that’s if you are sure you can get it off and not just end up with a that much more furious assailant.

      Real life fights are nothing like TV or even like 85% of training. I fought a bunch of dudes and some of them really wanted to fuck me up. Full pads. I made them chase me around the sparing space. Hit hit hit, get the f out, set up in a place they can’t get behind you, hit hit hit, move again. Until time was called. I was covered in bruises even though I landed the most hits. Do you know how painful it is to block a punch? How fast you have to be? And all you have accomplished is deflecting one hit when another is coming right at you. And even that is nothing like a real life fight – which I have unfortunately been in. Your training doesn’t fly out the window but damn the adrenaline hits way different.

      Also she’s gonna punch him in front of the world? After a World Cup win? They already televised her assault and gaslit the world saying it was consensual.

      I want women to be able to move through the world confidently, securely and safely. All women should have self defense classes. But the world hits back twice as hard. Smacking someone who assaults you isn’t the girl power moment you think it’s gonna be.

  25. paintergal says:

    WTF did I just read? I hope the citizens of Spain protest against this federation. It needs to be disbanded and re-organized with new members.

  26. Libra says:

    In a picture, the Infanta was standing right next to him and had her head turned toward him. I believe she witnessed the whole assault. I wonder if she’ll be allowed to speak up.

  27. Grandma Susan says:

    He looks amazingly like Matt Lauer, who was also a predator.

  28. Abbie says:

    This is more than gaslighting or a few predators on the loose, this is deeply rooted patriarchic culture at play here. Mediterranean countries/Balkans/Eastern Europe don’t have this thing called political correctness and wokeness. On the contrary, chauvinistic xenophobic speech, attitudes and behavior are the norm and reinforced by religious and conservative institutions, as well as by older generations, including women themselves. The first person that will tell you to not be so sensitive and “get over it” or “men will be men” is another older woman.

    So this dude and the entire federation of male chauvinists are frankly gobsmacked because in their heads he really did nothing wrong. Hugging women, planting a kiss and grabbing a feel are all normal and innocent behavior to them. Consent means the absence of you verbally screaming no and pushing him away. Anything less than that and “she was ok with it”. They truly believe this. And when women don’t “get it” they accuse them of having no sense of humor, being dumb and just all around trash, as if the woman is the assaulter for daring to accuse a man of bad behavior. If you accuse them of anything they become the victim in their heads. And their mothers will agree with them and protect them. Because that’s how the society works.

  29. bisynaptic says:

    Is it just me, or does he give off Stephen Miller fumes?

  30. Marion says:

    His mom has just gone on hunger strike and locked herself up in a church, together with his aunt. They won’t eat until Hermoso admits that the kiss was consensual and the “witchhunt” for her “innocent” son stops…. No words.

    • Bianca says:

      I just read this and I am speechless as well. Well. I guess now we know his origin story, huh?

  31. LooseSeal says:

    Thank you for covering this. I love seeing how people are standing with Hermoso and women’s players and expressing their outrage. But we have to remember, these men think they can get away with it because they usually can, and they usually do. Even after a global scandal like this, they’re usually quietly reinstated and it’s back to business as usual. It’s not shocking that they think they can get away with it. Let’s shock them by making sure they can’t. Ever again.

  32. Abby says:

    It’s so strange to me…. we all have eyes. This was on CAMERA. I hate that this happened, and his actions totally overshadowed the accomplishments of these women.

    Again I am mad that this happened, but it’s good that it happened on camera, to the winning team though–maybe this will spark a MeToo movement for these women.

  33. Emme says:

    Disgusting pig of a “man” deserves everything that happens to him. And his revolting cronies.
    As for his stupid mother and aunt going on “hunger strike” in protest at his “innocence”…well, maybe they need to lose weight anyway. No sympathy for them.

  34. Katarina says:

    Spain has a reputation for being a very sexist society and male dominated. It had one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Europe and the government there is super corrupt