Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that the country’s women footballers “gave the world a lesson” by going on strike over federation chief Luis Rubiales’ World Cup kiss.
“Our players have won twice: first on the pitch, and now in giving a lesson to the world, a lesson of equality between men and women” Sanchez said.
Spanish midfielder Jenni Hermoso joined a mass strike of women players last week saying she did not consent to being kissed by the country’s suspended football federation chief Rubiales after Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final.
Sanchez, speaking in Malaga, applauded the players’ stance.
Last week in a statement released by women players’ union Futpro, Hermoso and 80 other players said they would not accept an international call-up “if the current leadership continues” at the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
Rubiales, 46, has defied expectations and refused to resign, provoking widespread indignation.
Sanchez said that Spain was a feminist country, with women who had decided “to no longer submit”. Never again. It’s over” in reference to the slogan chanted in demonstrations in support of Hermoso.
On Friday, Spain’s sports court agreed to investigate Rubiales for the forced kiss as the scandal-hit
football chief insisted he would defend himself to “prove the truth”.
The government lodged a complaint against Rubiales through the state-run National Sports Council (CSD) a week ago, accusing him of “very serious” offences.
In agreeing to take the case, the Administrative Tribunal for Sport (TAD) said it considered the behaviour in question “serious”, falling short of the government’s characterisation of Rubiales’ actions.
Rubiales has been suspended by world governing body FIFA for 90 days while it decides on disciplinary measures.