Spain’s Jenni Hermoso says she ‘felt vulnerable’ when Luis Rubiales performed ‘non-consensual’ kiss

Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso spoke out Friday amid the fallout from soccer federation president Luis Rubiales' onstage kiss. 

In a recent speech, Rubiales said Hermoso “lifted me up” in a celebratory gesture, and he asked her for “a little kiss?” and she “said yes.” But Hermoso issued a statement through her players' union on Friday, which marked a sharp contrast from Rubiales' claim that the kiss was consensual. 

She said that “in no moment did I consent to the kiss that he gave me and in no moment did I try to pick up the president.”

Hermoso also said the kiss put her in a vulnerable position.

“I want to reiterate that I did not like what happened,” the statement added. “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an implusive-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part.”


Spain's Jenni Hermoso reacts after missing a scoring chance during the Women's World Cup match against Japan in Wellington, New Zealand, July 31, 2023. (AP Photo/John Cowpland, File)

Rubiales committed the act in question during the medal ceremony following the Women's World Cup final win in Australia. 

Rubiales has also refused to step down from his leadership role with the soccer federation. “I won’t resign,” Rubiales declared multiple times during a recent emergency meeting.


Jennifer Hermoso celebrates

A smiling Jenni Hermoso  with the Women's World Cup trophy at Stadium Australia on Aug. 20, 2023, in Sydney. (Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)

However, three other members of the soccer federation, including vice president Rafael del Amo, decided to step down.

Women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda and men’s national team coach Luis de la Fuente have expressed support for Rubiales.

The soccer federation initially responded to the controversy by releasing a statement in which Hermoso downplayed Rubiales' action. 

Later, however, sports website reported that the federation had coerced her into making the statement. The federation denied this to The Associated Press.

Luis Rubiales walks off field

Luis Rubiales before the Women's World Cup semi final match between Spain and Sweden at Eden Park on Aug. 15, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Maja Hitij – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Hermoso had said in a social media post shortly after the kiss, “I didn’t like it, but what can I do?” 

Later, her players' union issued a statement on her behalf saying that it would defend her interests and ensure that the act “does not go unpunished,” 

Hermoso's statement also made it clear that she did not want her words to be misrepresented.

“I won’t tolerate anyone putting in doubt my word and even more so that anyone invents words that I did not say.”

Rubiales, hand on head

Luis Rubiales reacts during the Women's World Cup final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on Aug. 20, 2023, in Sydney. (Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Rubiales continues to face significant headwinds from multiple fronts, but he said he is committed to defending his honor, in court if necessary.

Spain’s government planned to file a lawsuit Friday alleging that Rubiales violated the country’s sports laws, according to Víctor Francos, secretary of state for sports and head of Spain’s Higher Council for Sports. If the court hears the case and finds Rubiales guilty of committing sexist acts, he could be removed from office.

FIFA, the governing body of soccer, opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales on Thursday. The FIFA disciplinary committee will decide whether Rubiales violated its code relating to “the basic rules of decent conduct” or behaved “in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”


Shortly before the kiss, Rubiales grabbed his crotch in a victory gesture. He later apologized, saying it was in a moment of “euphoria.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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