The ‘huge ego’ on the centre of Spanish soccer’s sexism storm

Even earlier than Luis Rubiales had planted a kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s lips after Spain’s World Cup celebration, different officers within the stadium had been so struck by his behaviour that they had been sending round movies. One, confidentially despatched to The Independent, reveals the president of the Spanish soccer federation showing to seize his crotch in triumph. The gesture, which works again to Ancient Rome, is mostly taken to imply “I’m the man”.

It is actually an aggressively masculine gesture, making it all of the extra misplaced at a girls’s soccer event that’s outlined by its inclusivity. It feeds into certainly one of many rising arguments in Spain, that Rubiales didn’t know the best way to comport himself at such an occasion, elevating additional questions over his suitability to supervise the federation. That the Queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter had been near him has solely added to that.

There remains to be the sense that Rubiales doesn’t actually know what he did incorrect within the kiss on Hermoso. If a broadly criticised non-apology was not indicative sufficient, there have been his litany of feedback earlier than it.

Rubiales had described those that took subject along with his “public show of affection” as “idiots”, “stupid”, “fools” and “losers” earlier than summing all of it up as “bulls**t”. His subsequent apology then just about amounted to being sorry if anybody was offended.

That occurs to quantity to lots of people, who’re queuing as much as condemn the Spanish official in an issue that’s nowhere close to quietening down.

Miquel Iceta, the minister for tradition and sport in Spain, described it as “unacceptable”. Yolanda Diaz, the second deputy prime minister of Spain, has stated Rubiales ought to resign as a result of “a woman has been harassed and assaulted”. Irene Montero, the minister for equality, went furthest and described it as a “form of sexual violence”.

Such phrases are starting to alter the view of some in Spanish soccer that “as usual, nothing will happen”.

Some of Rubiales’ behaviour got here inside the vicinty of Queen Letizia and Princess Infanta Sofia


The state of affairs has now gone past stress rising. While the kiss is clearly ample for such an issue by itself, it comes amid a wider context that goes past Rubiales’ backing of supervisor Jorge Vilda regardless of participant complaints that included not being allowed to lock doorways of their lodge rooms on worldwide obligation till 2019.

Sources inside Spanish soccer had been utilizing phrases like “embarrassment” and “a disgrace that people like this represent our game”.

Newspaper El Pais in the meantime ran an editorial lamenting how a second of glory for Spain’s girls’s footballers, who had been having fun with the reward of the entire planet, was overshadowed by the behaviour of a person.

Rubiales has beforehand prompted such ructions in the entire recreation, nonetheless, that different figures had been all too prepared to privately Whatsapp different headlines.

Among them was the story: “The ex-boss of Rubiales’ cabinet says he paid for orgies with federation money,” in relation to non-public events reportedly organised. Rubiales denies it.

Another learn: “Luis Rubiales acquitted of the accusation of assault of the architect who renovated his house,” in a case that additionally noticed him accused of utilizing cash from the participant’s union – of which he was president – to pay for the work.

And then: “Rubiales deal with [Gerard] Pique for a €24m pitch to bring the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia – ‘you are left with six kilos’”, after a sequence of leaks confirmed some controversial offers with the previous Spanish defender.

Rubiales appeared to seize his crotch in the course of the victory celebrations

(The Independent)

Up to all of this, nonetheless, he had in all probability been finest recognized exterior Spain for the bombshell choice to sack males’s supervisor Julen Lopetegui two days earlier than the 2018 World Cup, a name that despatched the Spanish staff right into a tailspin last-16 exit. It’s a type of historic quirks that the state of affairs virtually represents the inverse of that with Vilda, the ladies’s coach he has stood by.

Then, Rubiales felt he had no alternative as a result of Lopetegui had disrespected the federation by agreeing to take a job with Real Madrid after that World Cup with out informing them. With Vilda, Rubiales felt Spain’s insurgent gamers – a few of whom boycotted this event – had disrespected each the supervisor and the federation, so was completely adamant he was backed. It was repeatedly identified that he and Vilda have a robust relationship and Vilda’s father, Jorge, is at present head of RFEF’s girls’s soccer division.

Either means, compromise was by no means a lot of a consideration in both state of affairs, though the latter did power modifications to girls’s staff preparation requirements and services. Some of the victorious gamers stay aggrieved they even needed to ask, and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas made a noteworthy remark within the second of victory.

“You’ve seen that the minute women’s footballers believe a little and are provided with basic facilities, everything comes out better.”

Rubiales’ defenders – and there are quite a lot of – would say this reveals an evolution.

He was lower than a month into the job when the Lopetegui incident occurred in June 2018, and was already seen as a big enchancment on predecessor Angel Maria Villar, who was suspended as president after being detained the earlier July on allegations of collusion, embezzlement and falsifying paperwork.

On sacking Lopetegui, Rubiales got here out with the next. “These are the values of the new federation and whoever doesn’t like it will have have to get used to it.”

Rubiales rose to that function after his work with the Association of Spanish Footballers, the place his expertise in main squads by chapter and administration at lower-profile golf equipment whereas nonetheless a participant was vastly valued.

Rubiales’ undesirable kiss on Jenni Hermoso overshadowed the Spanish celebrations


One name to assist truly got here at his final membership, which occurred to be Scottish aspect Hamilton Academical. One of the final issues he heard on his fourth and last look in Scotland – a 4-1 defeat at Rangers – was the mantra: “Baldy bastard, what’s the score?”

A defender, Rubiales wasn’t seen as having the standard technical ability of Spanish gamers, however was revered for his tenacity.

He was at Hamilton within the season that ended with Spain successful the lads’s World Cup in South Africa, which considerably cuts throughout any purported wider affect on the ladies’s success. It was Spain’s teaching revolution across the flip of the millennium that led to the rise of each of Spain’s world champions, and Rubiales was at golf equipment like Gaudix and Lleida as this was occurring.

It ought to be careworn he’s seen as a moderniser in different methods, although, for a federation that badly wanted it. It is below Rubiales {that a} division of integrity and safety has been created. And “Rubi”, as he insists workers on the federation name him, was additionally influential in a vital transfer that has been seen as decisive in probably bringing the 2030 World Cup to Spain. Although many had felt Saudi Arabia would win that bid by their rising affect, bringing in Morocco with Portugal and Spain has break up the African vote and primarily compelled the Gulf state out of the method.

Those who’ve labored with Rubiales at Uefa degree in the meantime describe him as “ambitious” and “capable”, however with a “huge ego”, that results in quite a lot of abrasiveness. He has already fallen out with the successive regime on the participant’s union and La Liga president Javier Tebas. Many would say that’s nothing new. Otherwise, that perceived modernity at federation degree now stands in distinction to the regressive behaviour of the previous couple of days.

El Pais described the kiss as “like a bad joke from Benny Hill”. It is barely getting increasingly more critical.

Rubiales seemed like he was actually feeling it at Monday’s victory parade. There had been no movies of his behaviour there as he was very restrained and didn’t seem on stage.

In the phrases of 1 supply, it’s about time.

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