Thousands of people gathered this Monday (28/08) in the center of Madrid to hold a protest and demand the resignation of the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, due to the sexual assault he committed against the player. Jenni Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup awards ceremony.

The act was convened by the 8M Commission, which brings together several feminist collectives in the Spanish capital, and was attended by two important political figures in the country: vice-premier Yolanda Díaz – who was a candidate for prime minister in July – and minister of Equality, Irene Montero.

Protesters also supported the Public Ministry’s decision to open an investigation against Rubiales for a possible crime of sexual assault against Hermoso, which could result not only in his departure from the RFEF but also in a possible arrest.

The case that has mobilized Spain in recent days originated in Australia, on August 20, after the final of the Women’s Football World Cup, won by the Spanish national team, which defeated England by the score of 1-0.

Rubiales was one of the figures who participated in the awarding of champion athletes. When Jenni Hermoso walked onstage to receive her medal and greetings from the officials present, he held her head in both hands and forced a kiss on her mouth.

Days later, last Friday (25/08), Rubiales called a press conference in which he was expected to announce his resignation from the RFEF, due to the pressures he began to suffer from the case. But no, the official used the platform to say that he was “the victim of an attempt at social assassination” and assured that the kiss on the player was “mutual, spontaneous, euphoric and consented”, and blamed the “false feminism” for the repercussion of the case.

The statement by the president of the RFEF was strongly rejected by public opinion and provoked a new wave of criticism in addition to the revolt of the athletes. Hours after the press conference, more than 80 Spanish footballers announced their resignation from the national team as long as Rubiales remains in charge.

The very player Jenni Hermoso spoke out this Friday about the speech by the president of the Spanish federation, and denied that there was consent to the forced kiss during the Cup awards.

“The words of Mr. Rubiales explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture of which he is a part (…) his attitude (the forced kiss during the World Cup awards) was a sexist act, out of place and without no consent on my part. I just wasn’t respected.”


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