In the wake of the historic 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, media focus has largely been on Luis Rubiales‘ nonconsensual kiss with Jenni Hermoso instead of celebrating Spain’s epic win. For shame.
As investigations continue and the men at the centre of the controversy remain largely unscathed, those in support of Hermoso are firmly pushing ahead with their campaign to find reparation for the incident that has sent shockwaves through the sporting community and world at large.
Overnight the 2022/2023 UEFA Awards took place in Monaco and there were a couple of key figures who bravely used their podium moment to condemn Rubiales and the people who are protecting him.
Spanish midfielder Aitana Bonmatí took out the prestigious award for UEFA Women’s Player Of The Year and used her acceptance to speak to the situation that has been unfolding over the past few weeks.
“We just won the World Cup but nobody is talking about that much because things have happened I wished hadn’t,” she said.
“I would like to speak a bit about what has happened. I think as a society we shouldn’t allow abuses of power in a work relationship, as well as a lack of respect. So from my teammate Jenni to all the women who suffer the same, we are with you. I hope we keep working to improve society.”
🏆 UEFA Women’s Champions League
🏆 FIFA Women’s World Cup
🏆 UEFA Women’s Player Of The Year
— DAZN Football (@DAZNFootball) August 31, 2023
This very clear and powerful message comes as more Spanish players stand with Hermoso in support. A growing number of footballers have publicly said they will not play for the national team while Rubiales is still in power.
Elsewhere Sarina Wiegman won UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year for her efforts leading the English team to second place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. While accepting the award she took the opportunity to dedicate her win to the Spanish team who have had their efforts overshadowed by the Rubiales controversy.
“But it also feels a little different. We all know the issues around the Spanish team, and it really hurts me as a coach, as the mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a human being, and it showed there’s still a long way to go in women’s football and in society,” she said.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team”
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 31, 2023
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team, the team who played at the World Cup such great football that everyone enjoyed. This team deserves to be celebrated and to be listened to, and I’m going to give them again a big round of applause, and I hope you will join me.”
Despite continued and growing condemnation from people across the world, Rubiales and Spanish coach Jorge Vilda still hold their jobs.
Rubiales is on temporary leave from his position as President of The Spanish Football Federation, Vilda remains coach of the national women’s football team and Rubiales’ mother is on a hunger strike protesting the “witch hunt” against her son.
While the shit show rages on, we won’t stop fighting until we have scalps.