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Kiss scandal: Hermoso speaks out as Spain players threaten to quit if Rubiales stays

JENNIFER Hermoso has insisted that she did not consent to be kissed by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president, Luis Rubiales, as the women’s team have called for his resignation.

Rubiales kissed forward Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation after Spain won their first Women’s World Cup title by beating England in Sydney, Australia on Sunday.

Rubiales, 46, has faced serious criticism for days, as well as FIFA disciplinary proceedings, due to his conduct in Sydney but he has insisted that the kiss was consensual and refused to resign.

Hermoso’s teammates announced last night that they would not play for the national team until he is removed.

Hermoso said in a statement on Friday night that she felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression”, hours after Rubiales had vowed to keep his job in a speech in which he claimed he was unfairly targeted.

Despite Rubiales’ claims that the kiss was consensual, Hermoso clarified that the incident had initially left her in shock.

“I feel the need to denounce what happened because I believe that no person, in any work, sports or social environment, should be a victim of this type of non-consensual behaviour,” she said.

“I felt vulnerable and the victim of an aggression, an impulsive, machista [chauvinistic] act, out of place and without any consent on my part. Simply put, I was not respected.”

Hermoso added: “I want to reiterate that I do not have to support the person who has committed this action against my will, without respecting me, in a historic moment for me and for women’s sport in this country.”

She said that she had repeatedly rebuffed the Spanish federation’s request to make a comment that would justify Rubiales’ act and lessen the pressure on the football chief. Even so, she claimed that the federation had continued to approach her, as well as her friends and family.

“I’m sure that as a world champion national team we do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture,” she added.

Her statement was issued soon after a joint statement that said the World Cup champions would not return to play for the national team as long as the leadership remained in place.

Along with all 23 players from the Women’s World Cup squad, the statement was signed by 56 other female football players.

Meanwhile, the Spanish federation has given its full backing to Rubiales and threatened to take legal action against Hermoso.

The body, in a statement released late last night, added that it could sanction the players if they refuse to feature for the national team.

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