The Spanish women’s football team should have spent the last week basking in the glow of its World Cup victory. Instead, it has been sucked into a leadership and sexism crisis that seems to escalate by the minute. During the medal ceremony at the final, Spain’s football federation president, Luis Rubiales, kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent; Hermoso has stated the kiss was not consensual and made her feel like “the victim of an aggression”. Although Rubiales initially apologised to “those who are offended” following backlash from other footballers and senior politicians, he maintained – and continues to maintain – that the kiss was consensual. At first, it appeared his federation and the coach of the women’s team – Jorge Vilda – were on his side. He got a standing ovation on Friday when he refused to resign and called out “false feminism” as a scourge of his country. Four days later it appears the only person left standing with Rubiales is his mother, who has locked herself in a church and gone on hunger strike over what she’s called an “inhumane and bloodthirsty” hunt of her son. But in a screeching u-turn after threatening to sue Hermoso for lying and its own football players for striking, the Spanish football federation has now bowed to pressure from Fifa and now demanded Rubiales’ resignation, as activists announce “se acabó” (it’s over). Spanish prosecutors have also opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident constituted sexual assault.
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