Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, on Monday apologized for kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women's World Cup. Rubiales, 45, kissed Hermoso after winning her medal after the final in Sydney, sparking outrage in Spain. “Certainly I made a mistake and I have to admit it,” Rubiales said in a video shared by Spanish television on social media. “It happened without malicious intent in a moment of supreme exuberance. Here we saw it as natural and normal, but outside it caused a stir.”
“I have no choice but to apologize and learn from it… and if I represent the federation, be more careful,” he said, adding that he thought the fuss was “idiotic”.
Earlier on Monday, Spain's sports minister had demanded an apology from Rubiales.
“I think it's unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her,” Acting Minister Miquel Iceta told Spanish public broadcaster.
“The first thing he has to do is make explanations and apologize. It's logical and reasonable,” Iceta said.
The minister added that while Sunday's 1-0 win over England in Sydney was “a moment of intense emotion”, officials “must be extremely careful because we are sending a message to society and that is equality.” respect”.
Rubiales stressed Monday that he has a “great relationship” with Hermoso.
On Sunday, the player posted a video on Instagram showing the festivities in the dressing room, in which she responded to her teammates' teasing by saying, “I didn't like it, eh!” while laughing.
Later on Sunday, the federation released its own quotes from Hermoso.
“It was a completely spontaneous mutual gesture because of the great joy that comes with winning a World Cup,” Hermoso was quoted as saying.
“The President and I have a great relationship. His behavior towards all of us was excellent and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”
“A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot often be overdone. We won a World Cup and we will not deviate from what is important.”
Spain's preparations for the World Cup were thrown into disarray last September when 15 players emailed the Spanish FA saying they did not want to be considered for selection.
Their protest was mainly directed at coach Jorge Vilda and his methods, including criticism that he was too strict.
Rubiales backed Vilda and only three of the 15 were recalled for the World Cup.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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