The president of the Spanish federation, who was criticized for his antics during Sunday’s World Cup final, has apologized for kissing one of the team’s players, saying his behavior “caused a stir.”
Luis Rubiales, who is also a member of UEFA’s governing executive committee and vice president of European football’s governing body, released a video message on Monday after he was pictured kissing Jenny Hermoso on the lips during Sunday’s awards ceremony in Sydney after Spain in beat England 1-0 in the final.
Footage also surfaced showing Rubiales kissing scorer Olga Carmona and celebrating Spain’s victory in the stadium’s VIP area, clutching his crotch.
The current Minister of Culture and Sports of Spain, Mikel Iceta, called Rubiales’ behavior in Australia “unacceptable”. The minister urged Rubiales to explain his actions and apologize.
Rubiales’ statement focused on the Hermoso kiss and made no mention of his behavior in the VIP box, where he stood next to Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter Sofia.
“There is something that I regret and that was what happened between me and a player with whom I have a fantastic relationship, as well as with others, where I definitely made a mistake. I have to admit it,” Rubiales said in his video message.
“In that moment of absolute jubilation, without any ill intentions or bad faith, well… it happened. I believe that this happened very spontaneously and, I repeat, had no bad intentions on either side.
“From that moment on, it was not interpreted in this way, as we behaved as usual, naturally, and again without ill will between us.
“But other than that, it seems like it caused a stir as it seemed like it caused damage, so I want to apologize for that, I’m not asking for anything else.”
Rubiales’ actions come less than a year after a mutiny of 15 Spanish internationals who reportedly withdrew their services due to dissatisfaction with a number of aspects of the national team’s setup, including coach Jorge Vilda’s strictness.
The federation refused to budge in response to the players’ complaints, saying that those involved would only be able to return to the national team “if they admit their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.
Neither Hermoso nor Carmona were among the 15. Hermoso can be heard in a social media post that she “didn’t like” Rubiales’ kiss, but she later released a statement via the federation saying it was a mutual gesture that was “spontaneous “. “.
The FIFPRO World Players Union stated: “It is very unfortunate that such a special moment for the Spanish national team players, which took place in front of a worldwide TV audience, was tainted by the inappropriate behavior of a man in a role with so much responsibility.
“Self-proclaimed and unwanted physical gestures towards players are inappropriate and unacceptable in any context. This is especially true when the players are in a vulnerable position because the physical approach or gesture is initiated by the person who has power over them.”
UEFA declined to comment.