After Spain’s title win at the women’s soccer World Cup, the focus is on a player who would have preferred not to play this role: Jennifer Hermoso. The striker was kissed on the mouth without being asked by FA president Luis Rubiales after the final against England, which La Roja won 1-0.

A few days after the incident, the 33-year-old spoke up again. In a statement that she published together with the players’ union Futpro, Hermoso called for consequences for the controversial head of the association. “We are committed to ensuring that actions like those we have seen never go unpunished, that they are sanctioned and that exemplary measures are taken to protect women footballers from actions that we consider unacceptable,” it said.

Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation RFEF since 2018, has come under increasing pressure in the days since the final. The media is demanding his resignation, and politicians have also sharply criticized his kiss. “What we have seen is unacceptable,” said Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Equal Opportunities Minister Irene Montero had previously described Rubiales’ behavior as a “form of sexual violence”.

Rubiales, who also serves as Uefa’s vice-president, initially downplayed the criticism but then apologized for the kiss. He has to learn from it and wants to be more careful in the future. Hermoso said of the situation in a live video immediately after the game: “I didn’t like it.” The association later released a statement from her, calling the kiss a “gesture of friendship and gratitude” that “shouldn’t be given too much attention”.

According to a report by the Spanish sports portal “Relevo”, the Spanish Football Association is said to have published these quotes without consulting the player. Both Rubiales and coach Jorge Vilda are said to have tried to convince Hermoso to refute the allegations in a joint video with the president during the return trip from the tournament in Australia. But the striker refused.

Her statement with the union, which now appears to be representing the Spaniard’s interests in this matter, suggests that Hermoso is not prepared to let the matter rest. Futpro is scheduled to meet with the second deputy head of Spanish government, Yolanda Diaz, on Monday to discuss the consequences of the incident. Fifa has also announced that it will open disciplinary proceedings. There is already an extraordinary general meeting of the football association on Friday – which will certainly be uncomfortable for Rubiales.

Sources: Futpro / “Relevo”