Luis Rubiales sends Fifa new video of Jenni Hermoso laughing over kiss on team bus

Hermoso has called the kiss the ‘straw that broke camel’s back’ in a long history of misdemeanours within the Spanish national team setup

Lawrence Ostlere
Thursday 31 August 2023 09:48 BST
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Spain’s deputy prime minister condemns Rubiales’ behaviour after World Cup final
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Luis Rubiales has sent new video to Fifa appearing to show Jenni Hermoso laughing over his infamous kiss, as the Spanish Football Federation president continues to desperately cling to power.

Rubiales was suspended from all football-related activity for 90 days while Fifa investigates the incident, in which he grabbed Spain forward Hermoso and kissed her on the lips during the World Cup final presentation in Sydney. He was also seen handling other players and kissing them on the cheek in the aftermath of the 1-0 victory over England, and footage also showed him grabbing his crotch in an aggressive celebration.

Rubiales has received widespread condemnation from across sport and politics, including the prime minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez, but he has denied wrongdoing, insisting the kiss was consensual and refusing to resign in a dramatic press conference. His mother has gone on hunger strike in protest against the “witch-hunt” and is currently being treated in hospital.

The Spanish FA initially tried to point to still photos indicating Hermoso had lifted Rubiales off the ground in celebration and thus initiated the kiss. Now footage has emerged of the player laughing with teammates on the team bus after the final while holding up a meme on her phone which poked fun at the incident.

The meme compared the Rubiales incident alongside a photo of former Spanish men’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas kissing reporter and then girlfriend Sara Carbonero. In the video, Hermoso can be seen smiling as she shows the image while some of her teammates chant “beso”, meaning kiss, and “presi”, referring to the FA president Rubiales.

A member of Rubiales’ camp told the DailyMail that they believed the video to be “gold dust” in his defence against both Fifa’s investigation into his conduct and any potential criminal charge of sexual assault, which the Spanish police authorities are exploring.

However, Hermoso has insisted the kiss was not consensual and that both herself and her friends and family were “pressured” to speak out in support of Rubiales. She criticised the “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture” of the Spanish national team.

“I have to state that I have been under continuous pressure to come up with a statement that could justify the act of Mr Luis Rubiales,” Hermoso said in a statement on Twitter. “Not only that, but in different ways and through different people, the RFEF has pressured those around me (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) to give testimony that had little or nothing to do with my feelings.

“It is not up to me to evaluate communication and integrity practices, but I am sure that as the world champion national team we do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture. This type of incident joins a long list of situations that we players have been denouncing in recent years, so this event, in which I have been involved, is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back and what everyone has been able to see. But attitudes like this have been part of the day-to-day life of our team for years.

“For all these reasons, I want to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this action against my will, without respecting me, at a historic moment for me and for women’s sport.”

Meanwhile Uefa, of which Rubiales is a vice-president, has finally broken its silence over the incident. Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin described the behaviour Rubiales as “inappropriate” – but called for Fifa’s investigation to be allowed to run its course.

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