The embattled Spanish FA (RFEF) has threatened legal action after accusing Jenni Hermoso of ‘lies’ following her insistence that she did not consent to being kissed by president Luis Rubiales.
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In an extraordinary statement late on Friday night, the crisis-ridden organisation continued their staunch backing of Rubiales after he kissed Hermoso on the mouth after Spain’s World Cup final victory over England on Sunday.
Hermoso, 33, said through the Spanish players’ union FUTPRO that she ‘felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part’. The statement was signed by 56 players, who have refused to play until Rubiales is sacked.
It came after Rubiales had claimed he asked permission to kiss Hermoso, who was said to have responded to say he could give her ‘a little peck’.
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‘I want to clarify that, as seen in the images, at no time did I consent to the kiss he gave me and of course in no case did I seek to raise the president. I do not tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I have not said,’ Hermoso said.
The Spanish FA has released an extraordinary defence of Luis Rubiales, attempting to explain Jenni Hermoso’s complicity in the moments leading up to the kiss
Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, kissed Hermoso on the mouth after the World Cup final
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England’s Lionesses condemned the ‘unacceptabled actions’ of Rubiales and called the Spanish FA ‘sexist and patriarchal’
In response, the RFEF claimed Rubiales – who dramatically refused to resign from his position on Friday – acted with ‘utmost respect’ and says that ‘lies have been spread about him’ from Hermoso’s camp.
The Spanish FA said the organisation and Rubiales ‘will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself’.
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‘The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the Futpro union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions,’ they added.
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The RFEF claims the ‘evidence’ was ‘conclusive’ that Rubiales, 46, had ‘not lied’. In the statement, they included a photo-by-photo rundown the kiss incident in a desperate attempt to back up Rubiales’ claims.
On Friday, Rubiales issued a defiant defence of his position and refused to step down from his post. FIFA has launched a disciplinary investigation and the Spanish government has started legal proceedings to have the 46-year-old suspended.
England’s Lionesses also released a statement condemning Rubiales, saying: ‘Unacceptable actions allowed to happen by a sexist and patriarchal organisation.
‘Abuse is abuse and we have all seen the truth. The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn’t take any convincing to take action against any form of harassment.
‘We stand with you, Jenni Hermoso.’
However, the RFEF claims that ‘the facts exposed by Mr. President are absolutely true’ and that he is ‘not lying’. They claim to have contacted Hermoso multiple times without success.
Stars of women’s and men’s football took to Twitter to voice their disgust at the situation, with Spain’s Alexis Putellas tweeting ‘This is unacceptable. It’s over. With you partner @jennihermoso’.
Borja Iglesias, a striker in the men’s team, has refused to play for his country until Rubiales is gone.
Here is the RFEF’s breakdown of several photographs of the incident. It should be noted that none of the photographs included show the kiss itself, but merely the moments preceding it.
The RFEF’s photo-by-photo breakdown
The RFEF argue that Rubiales’ arms are only loosely on Hermoso’s back in this photo, meaning he could ‘exert no force’, and that his heels are raised
The above image shows Rubiales smiling as he embraces Hermoso, with one hand on top of her head and the other on her back.
In explanation, the RFEF states: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso, with her arms, grabs the RFEF President from behind, while Mr. President has his arms loose on the upper part of the player’s back. Therefore, no force could exert.
‘You can see how Mr. President has the heels of his feet raised slightly.’
Here, the RFEF maintains that Hermoso keeps her arms around the president and that his heels are raised. Only one of Hermoso’s arms and one of Rubiales’ feet are visible
In the second image, Rubiales’ upper arm has moved lower down Hermoso’s head.
The RFEF explains: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso keeps her arms around Mr. President’s back. Mr. President keeps his arms on top of the player’s body.
‘It is verified how Mr. President already has much higher heels.’
Only one of Rubiales’ feet is visible in the photo.
The RFEF writes that ‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player’
This third image, with Rubiales lifted off the ground, is where the RFEF’s statement ramps up in vehemence and attributes responsibility to Hermoso.
The RFEF states: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must bring his arms closer to the player’s back as a result of having lifted him off the ground and to maintain balance.
‘The inclination of the back of Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso that occurs when she is performing an action of force is indisputable.
‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player.’
The RFEF maintains its stance in the final photo, where Rubiales is still lifted off the ground
For this final photo provided, the RFEF explains: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must continue to hold on to the players so as not to fall and it is evident that the arching of the player’s body corresponds to the lifting force of Mr. President you are performing.
‘The feet of Mr. President are ostensibly raised off the ground as a result of the player’s action.
Following their analysis of the photos, the RFEF concludes: ‘The evidence is conclusive. Mr. President has not lied.
‘The RFEF and Mr. President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself.’
While one could conclude from the photos that Hermoso lifts Rubiales – an action that the FUTRPO statement denies – they do not indicate any consent to a kiss.
The RFEF’s statement finishes: ‘The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the Futpro Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions.
‘The RFEF regrets that after such an extraordinary sporting success as the one that occurred in the Soccer World Championship, it cannot be celebrated as the situation and success deserves for completely non-sports reasons.
‘In any case, and how can it be otherwise, the RFEF respects as it has respected at all times the decisions of the players who want to participate or not with the Spanish team in international matches, although it records that participation in the selection is an obligation of all the federated people if they are called for it.’