Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso said Friday she felt like she had been assaulted by the country’s football federation president Luis Rubiales when he forced a kiss on her at the World Cup final.
“I felt vulnerable and a victim of an assault, an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part. Simply, I was not respected,” said Hermoso in a statement on social media.
Rubiales was hit with worldwide criticism in the days since the final on Sunday but refused to resign from his post on Friday at an emergency Spanish football Federation (RFEF) meeting.
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That prompted Hermoso and 80 other players to go on strike from national team duty until the “leadership” changes, while the Pachuca player, 33, spoke at length for the first time about the incident.
“The words of Mr. Luis Rubiales explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false, and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated,” wrote Hermoso.
“I clarify that in no moment did the conversation happen that (he) referenced, and much less, was the kiss consensual … I want to reiterate, as I did at the time, that this act was not to my liking.”
Hermoso said she felt shock and after thinking about it said she wanted to make clear that nobody deserved to be a victim of this type of non-consensual behaviour, for which she has “zero tolerance”.
“I am sure that as a world champions we do not deserve a culture which is so manipulative, hostile and controlling,” continued Hermoso.
“This type of incident joins a long list of situations that us players have been reporting in the last few years … this is just the straw that broke the camel’s back and all the world was able to see it.
“Attitudes like this have been part of the day to day of our national team for years.”
In the months before the World Cup 15 players went on strike, not including Hermoso, because of disagreements with the RFEF and coach Jorge Vilda, but several relented in their stance before the tournament, with three being called up.
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