Spain's prime minister slams football chief for kissing World Cup winner on lips

Spain's prime minister slams football chief for kissing World Cup winner on lips

Pedro Sanchez said Luis Rubiales’ apology did not go far enough

Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez slammed the head of the country’s football federation Tuesday for kissing one of the women who helped Spain win the World Cup on the lips without consent.

Sanchez called the kiss “unacceptable” and said it showed that Spain “still has a long way to go in terms of equality” between men and women.

After the kiss and celebrations Sunday, the player, Jenni Hermoso, said on an Instagram live stream that she “didn’t like” the unsolicited kiss but could not do anything to avoid it.

Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales released a video Monday where he apologized and justified his action.

“We saw it as something natural, normal and not in bad faith ... but there are people who have been hurt by this, and I have to apologize. There’s no other way, is there?” he said.

The prime minister said the apology “wasn’t enough” and Rubiales needs to “take more steps” to rectify his actions. Sanchez added that the government is not responsible for electing the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

The statement from Sanchez comes after other government ministers criticized Rubiales’ behavior. Minister of Equality Irene Montero said the kiss was a “form of sexual violence.” Deputy Prime Minister Yoland Diaz retweeted a demand for Rubiales to resign and called it “an intolerable example of machismo.” Sport and Culture Minister Miquel Iceta also demanded more “explanations.”

After the initial outrage surrounding the kiss, Rubiales told Spanish broadcaster, Cope, that the kiss was “between two friends,” and called those who saw it as inappropriate “idiots.”

Spanish sports reporters, however, pointed out that he had never grabbed a male player and kissed him on the lips. They also emphasized that Rubiales is Hermoso’s highest boss.

Sanchez also announced Tuesday that the women’s football team will be awarded the Royal Order of Sports Merit and said: “The 21st century will belong to women on all fronts.”

The Spanish women’s football team upset the UK 1-0 on Sunday, which brought the Women’s World Cup to Spain for the first time in history.

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