Spanish FA boss apologises for kissing Jenni Hermoso on lips after World Cup win

Spain's federation president kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women's World Cup on Sunday. Credit: video Screenshot

The Spanish FA president has apologised after he was criticised for kissing one of the team’s players at Sunday’s World Cup final.

Federation president Luis Rubiales issued a video statement on Monday after he was filmed kissing footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips during Sunday’s medal ceremony in Sydney, after Spain had beaten England 1-0 in the final.

Footage has also emerged of Rubiales celebrating Spain’s win in the stadium’s VIP area by grabbing his crotch.

Alongside serving as the Spanish federation's president, Rubiales is also a member of UEFA’s ruling executive committee and a vice-president of European football’s governing body.

Rubiales’ behaviour in Australia was described as “unacceptable” by Spain’s acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta.

The minister called on Rubiales to explain his actions and apologise.

Rubiales’ statement focused on the Hermoso kiss and did not reference his behaviour in the VIP box, where he was stood alongside Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter Sofia.

“There is something I regret, and it was what happened between me and a player, with whom I have a fantastic relationship, just like with the others, where I have certainly made a mistake. I have to admit it,” Rubiales said in his video address.

“In that moment of absolute exultation, without any bad intentions or bad faith, well… that happened.

"I believe it happened in a very spontaneous way, which I repeat had no bad intentions from either side.

“From that point on, it wasn’t interpreted that way as we carried on as normal, naturally, and again with no ill will between us.

“But outside of that it seems like it has caused a commotion as it seemed to do damage, so I want to apologise for it, I don’t ask for anything else.”

Rubiales kisses Spain's Aitana Bonmati on the cheek, and soon after Jenni Hermoso on the lips, following their win. Credit: AP

Rubiales’ actions come less than a year after a mutiny by 15 Spain players, who withdrew their services reportedly due to discontent with a number of aspects of the national team set-up, including the strictness of coach Jorge Vilda.

The federation refused to budge in response to the players’ complaints, with a statement saying those involved would only be able to return to the national team “if they accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.

Hermoso was not among the 15.

Hermoso can be heard in a social media post that she “didn’t like” the kiss from Rubiales, but then later released a statement via the federation saying it was a mutual gesture which was “spontaneous”.

World players’ union FIFPRO said: “It is deeply lamentable that such a special moment for the players of the Spain national team that was taking place before a global television audience should be stained by the inappropriate conduct of an individual in a role carrying so much responsibility.

“Uninitiated and uninvited physical gestures towards players are not appropriate or acceptable in any context.

"This is especially true when players are put in a position of vulnerability because a physical approach or gesture is initiated by a person who holds power over them.”

UEFA has declined to comment.

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