After Spain had won the Women’s World Cup, the country’s FA president, Luis Rubiales, grabbed the forward Jenni Hermoso by the head and kissed her on the lips. On Friday Rubiales refused to resign and claimed that Hermoso had said he could give her “a little peck”.
Later on Friday Hermoso released this statement:
After obtaining one of the most desired achievements of my sporting career and after a few days of reflection, I want to thank, with all my heart, my teammates, fans, followers, media and everyone who has made this dream a reality; your work and unconditional support has been a fundamental part to be able to win the World Cup.
In reference to what has happened today [Rubiales’ speech] and while I don’t want to interfere with the multiple ongoing legal procedures, I feel obligated to say that the words of Mr Luis Rubiales explaining the unfortunate event are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture he has created.
I want to make clear that not in any moment did the conversation occur that Mr Luis Rubiales references, and much less that his kiss was consensual. In the same way I want to reiterate how I did in that moment that what happened was not enjoyable.
The situation left me in shock because of the context of the celebration, and with the time passed, and those initial feelings being able to sink, I feel the need to denounce this as I feel that no one, in no work space, sporting or social, should be a victim to this time of unconsensual behaviour. I felt vulnerable and a victim of aggression, an impulsive act, sexist, out of place and without any type of consent from my part. In short, I wasn’t respected.
I was asked to released a joint statement to relieve the pressure off the president, but in those moments, in my head I only had being able to celebrate the historic achievement I accomplished with my teammates. That’s why, in that moment I communicated with the RFEF … and the same with media and people I trust, that I would not be releasing an individual statement nor a joint statement about the matter, as I understood that, by doing it, I would take away the spotlight from a very special moment for my teammates and I.
Despite my decision I have to state that I have been under constant pressure to come out with some sort of statement that would justify the acts of Mr Luis Rubiales. Not only that, but also, via different ways and different people, the RFEF has pressured my close circle (family, friends, teammates, etc) so I would give a statement that had little or nothing to do with how I felt.
It’s not my place to evaluate communication practices or integrity, but I am sure that as world champions we do not deserve a culture so manipulative, hostile and controlling. These types of incidents are added to a long list of situations that us, the players, have been [enduring] for the last few years, for what has been done, for what I have experienced, this is only a drop in a full glass and only what the whole world has been able to see. Acts like these have been part of daily life in our national team for years.
Overall, I want to restate my position that I have taken from the start, considering that I don’t have to support the person that has committed this action against my will, who didn’t respect me, in a historic moment for me and for women’s sport of this country.
In no situation, can it be my responsibility to assume the consequences to have to transmit something that I don’t believe, and for that reason I have ignored the pressure [I was put under].
I want to close by making it very clear that while it is me expressing this, these words are that of all the players in Spain and the world that have given me strength to come out with this statement. After the lack of respect and the incapacity to recognise errors and accept the consequences, I have made the decisions to not return to the national team while the current leaders are in position.
Thank you to everyone for the messages of support and words of encouragement I have received. I know that I am not alone and thanks to everyone we will continue forward together. I leave the trusted people from TMJ and Futpro [players’ union] with this topic and they will continue working in the next steps after the recent advancements.