Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has apologised for kissing player Jenni Hermoso following his country’s Women’s World Cup final win over England in Australia, reports Dail Mail.
The football chief had faced a wave of criticism and resignation calls after planting the unsolicited kiss on Jenni’s lips following the match.
In a video address today after leading politicians said he should quit or apologise, Rubiales admitted he had made a mistake.
He started the video by saying the Spanish team had achieved an ‘historic feat’ and it was one of the ‘happiest’ days for Spanish football.
But he added: ‘There is also something I regret and it’s over something that happened between a female player and myself who enjoy a magnificent relationship the same as I have with other women players.
‘I’ve no doubt made a mistake and I have to admit it.’
He continued: ‘At a moment of maximum excitement, without any bad intention or bad faith, what happened happened in a very spontaneous manner, I repeat without bad faith on either side.
‘We didn’t understand really what occurred afterwards because we saw it as something normal and natural but it has caused a controversy in some sectors and some people appear to have been upset and therefore I have to apologise.
‘Moreover I have to learn from this and understand that when someone presides an institution as important as the Spanish FA he has to take more care in events like ceremonies.’
Defending his initial reaction in the wake of the controversy, when he branded the people who had criticised the kiss as ‘idiots’, and admitting he was saddened because it had tainted the historic Spanish victory, he continued: ‘Within the Spanish FA no-one lent the slightest importance to this but outside it seems they have.
‘I also want to apologise to those people because if people have been affected outside, they will no doubt have their reasons.’ Rubiales made his public apology as he faced resignation calls over his controversial post-Women’s World Cup celebrations which included giving player Jenni Hermoso an unwanted kiss on the lips.
The 45-year-old had been accused of committing ‘sexual violence’ overnight by Spain’s acting Equality Minister Irene Montero for the unsolicited smacker following the country’s 1-0 win against England.
He initially laughed it off as a ‘peck on the lips between two friends celebrating something’ even though 33-year-old Jenni admitted she hadn’t liked it in a post-match live online stream from the dressing room.
Footage subsequently emerged of Rubiales grabbing his crotch and appearing to make an obscene gesture during his wild celebrations in the stands beside Spain’s Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter.
This morning Anna Caula, General Secretary of Sport for the regional Catalan government, said he should resign.
She called the kiss he planted on Jenni Hermoso’s lips as a ‘harsh aggression’ and added: ‘We must be aware there are things that are not a price that we should have to pay.
‘In football things are still not equal, we still have a lot of work to do. ‘It is up to a president of the Spanish FA to be scrupulous in the way he behaves himself
‘The explanation for this kiss and the subsequent declarations that have been made justifying it means us normalising attitudes that are not acceptable.’
Marta Lois, parliamentary spokesperson for Spanish left-wing coalition party Sumar, said: ‘This type of sexist behaviour towards the Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso is intolerable.
‘Mr Rubiales must resign. It’s shocking.’