Spain’s Men’s Football Team Expresses Concern Over Federation President’s Controversial Behavior

Members of Spain’s men’s national football team have voiced their disapproval of the actions of Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), following a controversial incident involving a kiss and subsequent events during the Women’s World Cup final victory celebration. Rubiales, who has faced widespread criticism, has refused to resign over the incident, and the men’s team has shown solidarity with the affected players.

In a statement delivered by forward Alvaro Morata on behalf of the Spain squad, they expressed their “regret and solidarity with the players whose success has been tarnished” by the controversy. They labeled Rubiales’ actions as “unacceptable behavior” and emphasized the importance of upholding the values that the sport represents.

Morata stated, “Spanish football must be a driving force for respect, inspiration, inclusion, and diversity and must set an example with its behavior both on and off the field.”

The controversy began when Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win last month. Hermoso later stated that the kiss was not consensual, leading to public outrage.

Luis de la Fuente, head coach of the men’s team, initially applauded a speech in which Rubiales refused to resign but later asked for “forgiveness.” He confirmed that he would not step down from his position.

In addition to the kiss incident, Rubiales also generated controversy when he grabbed his crotch during celebrations following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England at Sydney’s Stadium Australia on August 20, an act that occurred in the presence of Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter.

Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by FIFA, and Spain’s national sports tribunal (TAD) has initiated a misconduct case against him.

The controversy has led to further complications within Spanish football, including an investigation by Spanish prosecutors into whether the incident amounts to sexual assault and calls for Rubiales’ resignation from regional leaders of the RFEF.

The head of Spain’s Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, deemed Rubiales’ actions “inappropriate and unacceptable” but categorized them as an “isolated incident” that does not reflect Spanish sport as a whole.

The RFEF is also exploring the possibility of removing Women’s World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda from his position, as many of his coaching staff resigned in protest against Rubiales’ refusal to resign. Eighty-one female players, including all 23 World Cup winners, have declared that they will not play for the team as long as Rubiales remains in his role.

The controversy has led to the emergence of a video showing Hermoso and her teammates discussing the kiss on the team bus following the game. Hermoso denied that the kiss was consensual and expressed that she felt vulnerable and a victim of non-consensual behavior.

The situation has raised questions about the conduct of officials in the world of sports and the importance of respecting boundaries and consent in all settings.

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