Spanish football coach apologizes for ‘kiss’

Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales apologized Monday for kissing star Jenny Hermoso on the lips after winning Spain’s Women’s World Cup.

Rubiales, 45, drew outrage in Spain by planting a kiss on Hermoso after collecting medals following the final in Sydney.

“Obviously I made a mistake and I have to admit it,” Rubiales said in a video posted on social media by Spanish television.

“It was done without malice at the moment of supreme excitement. Here we saw it as natural and normal, but it caused a commotion outside.

“I have no choice but to apologize and learn from it… And be more careful when representing the league,” he said, adding that he thought the anger was “foolish.”

Spain’s sports minister earlier on Monday called for Rubiales to apologize.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable to kiss her on the lips to congratulate a player,” acting minister Mikel Iketa told Spanish public radio.

“The first thing he has to do is explain and apologize. That’s logical and reasonable,” Iketa said.

The minister added that Sunday’s 1-0 win over England in Sydney was a “moment of passionate emotion,” but officials should be “extremely careful because we are giving a message to society and the message is an equal right, that’s respect.”

Rubiales stressed on Monday that he had a “great relationship” with Hermoso.

On Sunday, the player posted a video on Instagram showing a celebration in the dressing room, where she laughed at her teammates’ teasing and said, “I didn’t like it, eh!”

Later Sunday, the federation released its own quote from Hermoso.

“It was a completely voluntary mutual gesture because of the tremendous joy that winning the World Cup brings,” Hermoso was quoted as saying.

“The president and I have a good relationship,” he said. “His actions towards all of us have been outstanding, and this is a natural sign of affection and appreciation.”

“The show of friendship and appreciation can’t go too far, we’ve won the World Cup and we’re not going to get away from what matters.”

Spain’s preparations for the World Cup were thrown into disarray in September when 15 players sent an email to the Spanish Federation saying they did not want to be considered as starters.

Their protests were mainly aimed at coach Jorge Bilda and his methods, including complaints that he was too strict.

Rubiales supported Bilda and only three out of 15 were called up for the World Cup.


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