Megan Rapinoe criticizes Spanish FA president for antics at the Women’s World Cup: ‘Indicates such a deep level of misogyny’


American women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe has mauled Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation, after the soccer official was seen kissing and grabbing player Jennifer Hermoso by the crotch in celebration of Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup.

Rubiales has since apologized for his actions, but continues to face calls to resign, especially from Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Rapinoe brought up the Spanish players who came forward with allegations of negligence months before the start of the Women’s World Cup. And despite all that, Spain still managed to clinch its first championship.


Megan Rapinoe prepares for Vietnam

Megan Rapinoe during the FIFA Women’s World Cup match against Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“It made me think about how much we have to endure,” Rapinoe told the newspaper. “Think about how much that Spanish team had to endure: some of the players who came on last year [to protest poor treatment by their coach and federation] are still not on the team. Maybe that was something that stimulated them, but you shouldn’t have that.”

Then she shot Rubiales.

“There was another image that signals such a deep level of misogyny and sexism in that federation, and in that guy just grabbing his crotch at the final whistle,” she said. “What kind of upside-down world are we in? On the biggest stage, where you’re supposed to be partying, Jenni has to be physically assaulted by this guy.”

Rubiales is still under fire for the kiss and his actions in the final. Sánchez called Rubiales’ actions “unacceptable.”

“And the apologies Mr Rubiales offers are not enough, I would call them inappropriate, so he must continue to take further steps to clarify what we have all seen,” he said.

The football federation said it was opening an internal investigation “into the incidents at the Women’s World Cup award ceremony.”

Rubiales doubled down first, calling the critics “idiots and stupid people.” He then apologized on Monday.

Luis Rubiales in July 2023

Luis Rubiales before the FIFA Women’s World Cup match between Japan and Spain at Wellington Regional Stadium on July 31, 2023 in New Zealand. (Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)


The Spanish players’ union called on the Supreme Council of Sports to act against Rubiales if he does not resign. The union cited Spain’s sports law that penalizes acts that “harm someone’s dignity” or “create an atmosphere of harassment” based on unwanted behavior related to gender or race.

“The incident with Jenni Hermoso is particularly serious because she is in a vulnerable situation against someone in a position of power,” the union said. “A one-time celebration for the Spanish players is overshadowed by the inappropriate behavior of the federation’s president.”

Spain’s Supreme Council of Sport told the AP it had received a formal complaint against Rubiales, filed by the president of Spain’s national school for football coaches, Miguel Galan. The organization says it is investigating the complaint.

The Spanish team was almost in revolt last year because of complaints against coach Jorge Vilda. The players demanded better coaching and preparation to get more out of the team.

Rubiales supported Vilda and only three of the fifteen players who filed complaints were included in the Women’s World Cup squad. The federation took moderate steps to improve the players’ conditions, including a financial package that allowed them to bring family members to the tournament and permission for players with children to spend time with them.

Luis Rubiales celebrates

Luis Rubiales attends a reception for the Spain women’s team at Moncloa Palace after they won the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on August 22, 2023 in Madrid. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)


Vilda is now under fire for his own World Cup antics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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