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Champaign Central Chronicle

Champaign Central Chronicle

Spain Soccer Federation Head Nonconsensual Celebration: Players say “We Support Jenni”

Spain Soccer Federation Head Nonconsensual Celebration: Players say “We Support Jenni”

On August 20th, at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Australia, Spain’s women’s soccer team won the World Cup tournament. As Jennifer Hermoso received her medal, Luis Rubiales, head of the Spanish Football Federation brought her into a hug, grabbed her neck, and kissed her on the lips.

After the event, Hermoso clarified that the kiss was not consensual. She posted on social media saying “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part, simply I was not respected”. While Rubiales stood by his actions, saying it was consensual. When interviewed, he described it as “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric.” 

 This made a lot of people shocked and angry in and out of the soccer world because of the consent struggle that women face in sports to be respected by male leaders and counterparts. Senior soccer player Gwen Ellis was personally shocked because of how “public and casual” the situation was. She said, “Usually when you see something like this it’s behind closed doors, so people deny this but so many were able to watch the game and see him do this.”

 Another senior soccer player, Jaylee Elsts, spoke about the situation, saying “The power difference between the leader of a federation and a player, but also the power difference that society places on women vs. men.” 

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The Spanish Football Federation started supporting Rubiales but made a switch when the public showed support for Hermoso by demanding his resignation. Other women’s soccer players have continuously supported Hermoso since the event first occurred. The women’s Spain team announced that they would not play until he was no longer the head. So, most recently, Rubiales stepped down as the soccer federation’s head. In soccer fan, Maddy Orlie-Frost’s opinion, “ Spain should have supported their team better.” She thought that the women’s team should never have had to threaten not playing for them to be listened to. 

Others, like Elsts, stated that she thinks from now on there should be “More of a push to have women coach women’s sports, not eliminating men from these areas but making it so that women don’t fear the power differential so heavily.”

With Rubiales not as head of the federation anymore, Pedro Rocha is stepping in to take his position. Now the team will not come back from the strike even after Rubiales leaves because they have chosen to take the worldwide focus on the team’s sexist issues as a chance to fight for higher wages. However, Spain is still scheduled to start the Women’s Nations League on September 22 with their first game against Sweden. 

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