Spain’s sports minister said he “wants this to be a MeToo moment in Spanish football” after the government launched legal proceedings seeking to suspend FIFA president Luis Rubiales for kissing World Cup star Gini Hermoso on the lips.
FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the 46-year-old former player on Thursday.
The Me Too movement seeks to end violence against women, and was catapulted into the mainstream consciousness in 2017 after film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of multiple sex crimes – later convicted and imprisoned.
Victor Francos, Minister of Sports and President of the Federation, said: “Today the government initiates the procedure so that Mr. Rubiales has to give explanations before the Sports Court, and if the Sports Court agrees, I can announce that we will suspend Mr. Rubiales from his duties.” The state-run National Sports Council said.
“There has to be a change. The government wants to warn, to be very clear and say there are things that cannot happen again.”
The Sports Council can only stop Rubiales if the court rules that the kiss violated the Professional Sports Act.
Rubiales kissed the Spanish striker during his presentation ceremony after the final in Sydney. “I didn’t like it,” she later said on social media.
He apologized earlier in the week and was expected to announce his resignation at an extraordinary general meeting called by the federation, but instead pledged to “fight to the end”.
On Friday, he lamented that he had grabbed his genitals while celebrating in the VIP area of Stadium Australia, with Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter standing nearby.
“What we saw today in the Union Assembly is unacceptable,” said Acting Spanish Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz. “The government must act and take urgent action. Impunity for manly acts is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office.”
Acting Minister for Social Rights Iuni Pilara added: “Consent is not decided by the aggressor, it is decided by the woman. Mr. Rubiales’ violent, mafia-like rhetoric will not work against a country that has already changed. Everyone already knows what kind of change will change.” man is.”
“This is unacceptable” – the reaction of Spanish football
Spanish players, clubs and organizations have spoken out – very much against Rubiales.
It’s over. With your partner Jenny Hermoso,” said Alexia Potellas, Ballon d’Or winner and another member of the World Cup winning team.
Another teammate, Aitana Bonmati, wrote: “There are limits that cannot be crossed and we cannot tolerate this. We are with you partner.”
Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias, who has two caps for the Spain men’s national team, said: “As a footballer and as a person, I don’t feel that what happened today represents me.
“I have made the decision not to return to the national team until things change, and such acts do not go unpunished,” he added.
Several Spanish football clubs, including Barcelona, Sevilla, Espanyol and Racing Santander, have also issued statements critical of Rubiales.
Hermoso played with Barcelona from 2013 to 2017 and from 2019 until last year when she joined the Mexican team Pachuca.
A club statement read: “FC Barcelona would like to make it clear that it considers the behavior of the president of the Spanish Football Federation totally inappropriate and inappropriate during the celebrations of the Spanish women’s national team winning the World Cup. The incident we consider to be regrettable.”
England striker Beth Mead wrote on social media: “In this game the Spanish players deserve more and no player should have to put up with that. It’s unacceptable and also funny that these guys are still being allowed so much power.”