Spain kiss chaos ‘blown out of proportion’ with Hermoso blamed for backlash

Former Southampton and England attacking midfielder Matt Le Tissier says Luis Rubiales’ kiss has been ‘blown out of proportion’ by the media and Jennifer Hermoso. Multiple players and members of staff for Spain’s women’s football team have demanded that the Spanish Football Federation president step down from his role after planting a kiss on Hermoso’s lips after their 1-0 victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final last Sunday.

Hermonso said she did not consent to the kiss and felt “vulnerable” and a “victim of an impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act.” Rubiales, meanwhile, has refused to resign and claims the kiss was consensual. “I said to her ‘a little peck?’ and she said ‘OK’,” he insisted.

A statement from the England Lionesses sided with Hermonso and described the act as “unacceptable”. “The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn’t take any convincing to take action against any form of harassment,” it read. “We stand with you, Jenni Hermoso.”

Le Tissier, though, feels the situation should have been handled differently by the Spanish skipper. Speaking during a recent appearance on GB News, he said: “I really struggle with the world we are living in today when I feel like things are blown out of proportion so much by the media.

“In this situation, I feel like if the captain involved [Hermoso] was offended by the kiss then I feel like she should have confronted the manager, and told him she was offended. In that situation, the guy who kissed her [Rubiales], he would have apologised, I assume he would have apologised, a heartfelt apology.

“At which point, the lady in question should have gone, ‘Do you know what, it was the heat of the moment, we just won the World Cup, you were wrong, you’ve apologised, thank you for your apology, let’s move on’ and the whole world would be a much simpler place.

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“Rather than blowing it up into such a massive thing. I really struggle with that. These small things that get blown up frustrate me. This could have been dealt with much better.”

The Spanish government have recently started legal proceedings in order to remove Rubiales from his post while FIFA have also launched disciplinary proceedings after issuing him with a suspension. Most of Jorge Vilda’s coaching staff have resigned as a result of the events while the entire squad are refusing to play until Rubiales is sacked.

A statement signed by 11 members of Spain’s backroom staff read: “As a result of the events that occurred after the final of the Women’s Soccer World Cup, part of the Women’s Soccer Team wants to make its position public through the following points: ​1. The undersigned express their firmest and most emphatic condemnation of the conduct shown by the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Manuel Rubiales Béjar, with the player of the National Women’s Soccer Team, Jennifer Hermoso. 

“​2. After the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, which took place on August 25, 2023, in which the president of the RFEF did not present his resignation and in which he offered a story that in no way reflects what was felt by the aforementioned player, who has expressly stated that she felt ‘victim of aggression’, this part of the Coaching Staff supports the player Jennifer Hermoso, endorsing the version offered by her. Adding the inconvenience of having to necessarily attend the aforementioned assembly on August 25, in which, in addition, there was a particularly hurtful event for this coaching staff, since several of the female members of the coaching staff were forced to sit in the front row, exposing their image and trying to make society and players understand.

“​3. For all these reasons, the undersigned, in the face of the unacceptable attitudes and statements made by the top leader of the RFEF, have made the decision to place their positions at its disposal. 

“4. This part of the Technical Team shows its support for the statement published by the players of the Women’s National Soccer Team, in reference to said actions and statements made by the president of the RFEF, and more specifically to the public statements made by the player Jenni Hermoso. 

​”5. We, the undersigned, want to finish this statement by accepting the part of the responsibility that falls to us regarding the restructuring and professionalization of the Absolute Women’s National Team, a task for which we have always worked with the greatest of motivation and professionalism.”

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