For those of you struggling to understand why Jenni Hermoso and the innapropriateness of Luis Rubiales has infuriated women everywhere and why the Spanish women’s team are making a stand.
I give you Casey Stoney: pic.twitter.com/pOIcgF5mYo
— Emma (@WhatTheForkLads) August 25, 2023
Yes, I have been paying attention to this story, but there have been a steady stream of updates.* The latest, per the Associated Press — “FIFA suspends Spain soccer federation president Luis Rubiales for 90 days… “:
FIFA suspended Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales on Saturday while its disciplinary committee investigates his conduct at the Women’s World Cup final, which included kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s victory.
The provisional suspension comes less than a week after Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in Sydney, Australia, and a day after Rubiales refused to resign, despite intense pressure from the Spanish government, women players, soccer clubs and officials. Rubiales’ conduct, which also included grabbing his crotch, has overshadowed the enormous accomplishment of Spain’s first Women’s World Cup title.
Hermoso has said she did not consent to the kiss, and the team’s players have said they will not play any more games as long as Rubiales is in charge. It was not immediately clear how FIFA’s latest intervention might affect that…
The president of Spain’s women’s league, Beatriz Álvarez, told The Associated Press that she believed this was the end of Rubiales’ soccer career. The league filed one of several official complaints against Rubiales that Spain’s government has received…
The federation appointed vice-president Pedro Rocha as acting president. It added in a statement that Rubiales “has complete trust in the FIFA’s procedures and will use this opportunity to start his defense so that the truth is known and he is proven innocent.”
The federation has threatened legal action against Hermoso for refusing to accept Rubiales’ version of the kiss that happened at the on-field medal and trophy presentation last Sunday…
Rubiales, who is also UEFA vice president, has been leading the joint bid by Spain, Portugal, Morocco — and possibly Ukraine — to host the 2030 World Cup. His suspension means he cannot attend UEFA meetings or vote in October to decide the winning bids for the 2028 and 2032 European Championships…
Hermoso received an ovation from the crowd when she attended a preseason match Saturday for Atletico Madrid, the club where the 33-year-old forward started her long and successful career. Players of Atletico and visitors AC Milan posed before a banner reading “(We Are) With You Jennifer Hermoso.”…
* (Mandatory disclaimers: Organized sports have been ‘politicized’ since at least the days of Olympian Greece; professional sports have notoriously abused the athletes it considers cannon fodder; & in a sport noted for sexist behavior, Spain seems to have been a particularly visible offender.)
“Simply put, I was not respected.” https://t.co/2VEkBneN9u
— Jane Coaston (@janecoaston) August 25, 2023
Albert Burneko has an excellent recap, at Defector — “Luis Rubiales Shows The Whole World Spain’s Entire Ass”:
… Rubiales is a pig and a moron; this was established long before the kiss. In 2016 Tamara Ramos, then a staffer for Spain’s players’ union, went public with accusations that Rubiales had, among other things, made lewd and inappropriate comments to her in professional settings, such as asking what color underwear she was wearing, and, “In front of everyone he, with the sarcasm he has of laughing, told me ‘Come see, you have come here to put on your knee pads.'” Last year, when 15 players on the women’s national team sent a letter to the RFEF protesting an unprofessional environment under manager and nepo-baby mediocrity Jorge Vilda, Rubiales is who directed the RFEF’s sneeringly hostile and dismissive response, and its doubling down on the worthless Vilda. The very day of the kiss incident, Rubiales had already been spotted in the stands, pumping his crotch with his hand while celebrating Spain’s performance, standing a few feet from Spain’s queen and her 16-year-old daughter. By the time he kissed Hermoso, he’d already drawn the world’s attention for the leering, overfamiliar hugs he’d given each preceding medal recipient on the stage.
The embarrassment didn’t end there, not by a long shot. In the locker room afterward, as he was springing a surprise Ibiza trip on Spain’s players, he made a crack about inviting them there to celebrate “the wedding of Jenni and Luis Rubiales.” When first asked about the kiss’s public blowback, Rubiales attributed the criticism to “idiots.” His RFEF released a statement, purportedly from Hermoso herself, defending the kiss as “a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup,” and “a natural gesture of affection and gratitude” and then again as “a gesture of friendship and gratitude,” claiming she and Rubiales “have a great relationship, his behavior towards all of us has been outstanding,” and demanding that everybody stop talking about it immediately. Only that statement turns out to have been issued without the participation of Hermoso herself, who evidently said none of those things. When Rubiales did finally get around to issuing an apology video, reporters learned that he’d first begged Hermoso to appear in it with him, even daring to ask that she do so on behalf of his daughters…
This brings us, more or less, to Friday’s breathtakingly deranged RFEF assembly, at which Rubiales … fucking hell, where even to begin with this guy. Well, let’s see. He repeatedly refused to resign, for one thing, at one point roaring it several times in a row like he’s in friggin’ The Wolf of Wall Street. He also offered Vilda a new four-year contract paying him a higher salary than that of literally any woman soccer player in the world. That is not even the half of it.
Rubiales named critics—all women—who have described the kiss as an assault, and vowed legal action against them. He called the kiss “spontaneous, mutual, and consensual”—you might notice this harmonizes with the fake Hermoso statement—and even blamed it on Hermoso, saying “She was the one who lifted me up and brought me closer to her body. And I said to her, ‘A little bit?’ and she said, ‘OK.'” He called the reaction to the kiss a “social assassination” and said his critics are trying to kill him…
Nearly as appalling as Rubiales’s lunatic tirade was the sight of Vilda and men’s national team manager Luis de la Fuente in the audience, applauding this dogshit. They aren’t alone among powerful men and institutions in Spanish soccer showing their whole asses today: As of this writing, Luis Enrique, former men’s national team coach and current boss at Paris Saint-Germain, has spoken out in Rubiales’s defense, after the speech; so has Joan Soteras, head of the Catalan Football Federation (FCF). FC Barcelona, which reportedly has benefited from Rubiales’s help in sorting out its myriad Financial Fair Play problems, issued a disgracefully weak statement, denouncing Rubiales’s behavior at the World Cup but crediting him, ridiculously, with having “admitted it was an error” and apologizing. (Casting Barcelona in an even worse light, RCD Espanyol, Barça’s relegated crosstown rival, had the bare-minimal awareness and self-respect to condemn both Rubiales’s World Cup behavior and his shameful display at the RFEF assembly, and to call for his immediate dismissal.)
Meanwhile, players themselves are reacting with horror, outrage, and unity…
Awful and repellent as Rubiales’s speech was, this may well turn out to have been a positive development overall, or at least the lesser of some number of evils. In combination with the World Cup win, a hasty and quiet resignation by Rubiales risked making Spain’s national soccer infrastructure and culture look healthier and more progressive than they actually are, and may have allowed the media and public to metabolize this whole sequence of events as merely the story of a single monstrous indiscretion—attributable perhaps to a joyful and tragically over-voluptuous Latinate heart—followed by an appropriately chastened and modern response. Now, with Rubiales having had nearly a week to formulate his next move, and with that next move having been, in total, a great big chesty fuck-you to decency and accountability, no one in the world can even halfway credibly pretend not to see the situation for what it is…
This is what Spain’s players were trying to bring to the world’s attention, a great big system of disrespect, unprofessionalism, and gross incompetence, which includes but is far from limited to one manager or federation president. In the work of doing so and in absolutely no other sense, Rubiales now turns out to have been perhaps their single greatest ally.
If twitter is an indicator, it doesn’t seem like Rubiales’ behavior can be discretely swept under the carpet.
🔴 NEWS || The players of the Spanish soccer club Cádiz CF came out with the banner 'We are all Jenni' to support Jenni Hermoso against the macho Luis Rubiales.#Cadiz #Spain #JenniHermoso #LuisRubiales pic.twitter.com/FZrqzVTU9h
— Docendo Updates 🌎 (@omotkn) August 26, 2023
"fist instead of kiss for rubiales and rummenigge. sorry, with respect, that's perfectly okay"
respect to sc freiburg fans pic.twitter.com/f8gpCGhph4
— mapi (@loberdorf6) August 26, 2023
Football fans offer their views on whether Luis Rubiales should resign with most saying he should go 👇
One fan said his actions were "horrific" and another said he should resign "regardless of whether there was consent or not".
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 27, 2023