Spanish football legend Andres Iniesta, on Sunday, joined the growing number of voices denouncing the country’s federation president, Luis Rubiales, saying his forced kiss with Jenni Hermoso after the women’s World Cup final was “damaging the image” of Spanish football.
“After what has happened this week, I would like to convey my sadness as a person, as a father of three daughters, as a husband and as a footballer” at what has happened around “our football and around the Spanish women’s national team”, Iniesta wrote on his social networks.
“I believe that we cannot tolerate actions like the ones we have seen, which have tarnished such a great milestone as winning a World Cup,” added the scorer of the goal against the Netherlands in the 2010 men’s final, which gave Spain its first World Cup.
Hermoso said “at no time” did she consent to the kiss on the lips following the 1-0 win in the final against England in Sydney, which Rubiales described as “mutual, euphoric and consensual”.
Hermoso and 80 other Spain players, including the entire World Cup squad, said they will not play for the national team until the “leadership” changes.
The majority of the women’s team’s coaching staff have also offered their resignations.
“I can’t imagine the feeling that all the national team players must be feeling right now seeing how they are not talking about the great tournament they had and the fantastic football they taught us all,” said Iniesta.
“Instead, we have had to put up with a president who has clung on to his position, who has not admitted that his behaviour has been unacceptable and is damaging the image of our country and our football around the world.
“It’s a shame that a beautiful story that so many players have built over so many years has been soiled.”
On Saturday, Rubiales was handed a 90-day suspension by world governing body FIFA as it undertakes disciplinary proceedings against him.
The Spanish Federation responded by saying Rubiales would defend himself “so the truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven”.
The 46-year-old, however, may face further complications with Spanish media reporting Sunday that the country’s administrative court for sport (TAD) will meet on Monday to consider a request from the government to suspend him from his duties as president.
This could last longer than FIFA’s 90 days depending on how the court views the government’s charges against Rubiales of “very serious offences”, a possible “abuse of authority” and “acts that undermine sporting dignity or decorum”.
“We are going to ask the TAD to meet on Monday,” said Spain’s Minister for Sport, Miquel Iceta, in an interview with the daily El Pais on Saturday.
“If the TAD accepts the government’s complaint, we will immediately suspend the president from his duties.”
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