Spanish FA accuses Jennifer Hermoso of 'lies' over Luis Rubiales kiss, as squad refuses to play

The Spanish FA has defended Luis Rubiales on the moment he "embraced" Jenni Hermoso - but players are refusing to play over the allegedly non-consensual kiss.

The Spanish FA accused Jennifer Hermoso of "lies" as calls grew for the federation's president to step down.

The player said she did not consent to being kissed by Luis Rubiales, president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, following Spain's World Cup final win over England on Sunday.

Despite growing anger, Rubiales claimed the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual” and said he would not step down.

However, on Saturday afternoon FIFA announced it had suspended Rubiales from "all football-related activities".

The World Cup-winning squad were refusing to play while Rubiales remained in post, with 81 players signing a letter stating they would not accept national team call-ups.

On Friday night the FA accused Hermoso of "lies", publishing four photos which it said showed the player embracing and lifting Rubiales off the ground in the incident.

It said this was evidence that the president "has not lied" and that it would initiate legal action against the Futpro Union - which published Hermoso's statement on Friday.

At an emergency general assembly of the football federation in Madrid, Rubiales said Hermoso “lifted me up” in a celebratory gesture and he asked her for “a little kiss?” and she “said yes.”

“The kiss was the same I could give one of my daughters,” Rubiales said.

However, while the televised broadcast of the medals ceremony did not show the first moments when Rubiales congratulated Hermoso, it does show that his feet were on the ground before he held her face and kissed her.

Luis Rubiales (left) has faced heavy criticism for his actions at the World Cup final. Credit: AP

In its statement defending Rubiales, the RFEF said: "The feet of Mr. President are ostensibly raised off the ground as a result of the player's action.

"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."

It also claimed that Hermoso lifted Rubiales with "indisputable force".

In a previous statement following Rubiales claiming the kiss was consensual, Hermoso said: “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."

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

The Spanish government is attempting to take Rubiales to tribunal, with an official claiming the incident could be the '#MeToo of Spanish football'.

The Lionesses put out a statement on Friday night, telling the Spanish team: "We all stand with you."

"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 need convincing to take action against any form of harassment."

FIFA opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales on Thursday and its disciplinary committee will decide whether he violated its code relating to “the basic rules of decent conduct”, or behaved "in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”

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