Spain’s football federation president Luis Rubiales was at the centre of new misogyny allegations on Wednesday, as he faces growing calls to be sacked for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the country’s World Cup victory.
The country’s football federation (RFEF) chief, 46, has been widely condemned for planting a kiss on the lips of the footballer after her team’s 1-0 triumph over England in the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.
The general director of the Futbolistas ON players’ union, Tamara Ramos, has now alleged that Rubiales made obscene comments to her when they worked together at the Spanish footballers’ association, including asking what colour her underwear was.
The allegations have been strongly denied by the Spanish football federation.
Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has described the incident involving Hermoso as “unacceptable” while the Spanish government has demanded transparency and urgent action from the football federation.
Spain’s women’s football league, La Liga F, joined the growing calls for Rubiales to resign and cited TV footage after the final which appeared to show him grabbing his genitals with both hands to celebrate Spain’s victory.
It said in a statement on Wednesday: “The Professional Women’s Football League has lodged a complaint with the president of the Superior Sports Council (CSD) after the very serious actions and behaviour of the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, at the final of the Women’s World Cup, and is calling for his dismissal.
“One of the greatest feats in the history of Spanish sport has been tainted by the embarrassing behaviour of the highest representative of Spanish football who, once again, and guided by his continuous and habitual desire for leadership, has revealed to not be up to the position he occupies,” the women’s league added.
“A boss grabbing his employee by the head and kissing her on the mouth simply cannot be tolerated.
“It’s not just about the kiss. Celebrating the triumph on the presidential balcony while holding his genitals next to the queen is unacceptable and disgusting.
“It’s an incident which has entered the history of world sport and, more seriously still, will for ever be linked to our national women’s team.”
Rubiales initially hit back at his critics, before eventually apologising, but the criticism of his behaviour has not abated.
Victor Francos, Spain’s secretary of sport and president of the CSD, said the council would take action if the Royal Spanish Football Federation did not by raising the case with Spain’s administrative court for sports.
The kiss, which Hermoso later said she “didn’t like”, was described as a “form of sexual violence” by the acting minister of equality, Irene Montero, while the Netherlands-based players’ union Fifpro described it as “not appropriate or acceptable in any context”.
Earlier on Wednesday, US footballer Megan Rapinoe attacked the “deep level of misogyny and sexism” in the Spanish football federation, in an interview with the Atlantic.
In response to the claims by Ramos, The RFEF said it “regrets and denounces the very serious and false accusations made by Tamara Ramos, a former co-worker of president Luis Rubiales when he headed the AFE union”.
The statement added: “In addition, immediate legal measures have been taken on the understanding that statements of such magnitude and so defamatory cannot be tolerated that the only thing they want is to damage the image of Luis Rubiales by taking advantage of the current media current.
“It is pertinent to report that Ms Ramos has also maintained personal contact with president Luis Rubiales throughout this time and has even sent him family images, congratulated him on his birthday, and even recently requested a job in the federation.
“We totally condemn the aforementioned statements, which we consider inadmissible, announcing at the same time the filing of the appropriate criminal actions against Ms Ramos.”