Spanish football holds 'urgent' meeting after World Cup kiss

Football federation president Luis Rubiales is facing calls to resign

Atletico Madrid players and staff hold a banner in support of Spain's Jenni Hermoso. Reuters
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Spanish football chiefs have called an “extraordinary and urgent" meeting for Monday to discuss the kiss controversy that has engulfed its president after the country’s women’s team won the World Cup.

Federation president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso during the celebration, a kiss she says was not consensual and which he insists was. Mr Rubiales has resisted pressure since then to resign.

Over the weekend the global organising body Fifa suspended him from football operations for 90 days, the players boycotted matches while he stays in charge, and all coaches – except head coach Jorge Vilda – resigned.

So far, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has supported its president.

But Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, a referee and sexual violence protocol officer for the federation, has confirmed an investigation is taking place.

The RFEF has called regional federations to an "extraordinary and urgent" meeting "to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself", a representative said on Sunday.

The Spanish government cannot fire Mr Rubiales but has strongly denounced his actions.

Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz is due to meet on Monday representatives of the women's players' union Futpro, which represented Hermoso, and the Association of Spanish Footballers to ensure the sport "has decent conditions and spaces free of sexist violence".

Acting budget minister Maria Jesus Montero said on Sunday that Mr Rubiales should not return to lead Spanish football.

"A person who lies, who has made a show of not having understood what the fight for equality means in an area as important as sport, cannot have the direction of football in this country in his hands," Ms Montero said.

Feminist groups have called a demonstration on Monday in Madrid entitled "With you Jenni". Hundreds of people staged a demonstration on Sunday in Salamanca against Mr Rubiales.

Victor Francos, head of the state-run National Sports Council, has called the incident a MeToo moment for Spain.

On Saturday, 11 members of the women's team's coaching staff offered their resignations to the RFEF in a statement supporting Hermoso and condemning Mr Rubiales.

Vilda said on Saturday that he regretted the president's "inappropriate behaviour".

All 23 of Spain's cup-winning squad including Hermoso, as well as dozens of other squad members, have said they would not play internationals while Mr Rubiales remained head of the federation.

Their next match is away to Sweden in the Nations League on September 22.

Spain's victory

Updated: August 27, 2023, 6:55 PM