Jenni Hermoso supports former club Atletico Madrid against AC Milan

Jenni Hermoso supports her former club Atletico Madrid against AC Milan as drama around ‘kissgate’ continues to rage with the Spanish FA launching an internal investigation into its president Luis Rubiales after its sexual violence protocol is triggered

  • The Spanish World Cup winner received a standing ovation from the crowd 

Spanish World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso received a standing ovation as she watched her former club Atletico Madrid take on AC Milan as the drama around ‘kissgate’ continues to rage.

The overwhelming support for Hermoso comes after the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) launched an internal investigation into its president Luis Rubiales after its sexual violence protocol was triggered.

Rubiales, who has been provisionally suspended by FIFA, has been embroiled in a scandal since he kissed Hermoso on the lips in the aftermath of Spain’s World Cup victory over the Lionesses last Sunday.

As Hermoso watched Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win on Saturday evening, she beamed and waved at the crowd as they applauded her, while players at the match held a banner aloft which read: ‘With you Jennifer Hermoso’. 

The 33-year-old forward, who has been backed by her team-mates, the Lionesses and many more in wider society, has rebuffed claims from Rubiales that the kiss had been consensual.

Spanish World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso received a standing ovation as she watched her former club Atletico Madrid take on AC Milan 

The Atletico Madrid players posed for photo with Jennifer Hermoso’s Spain shirt ahead of kick-off

This is the moment that Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup

The embattled Spanish football chief accused the World Cup winner of lying and has defiantly defended his actions. He was widely expected to resign at a meeting on Friday but instead claimed he was the victim of a witch-hunt by ‘false feminists’.

READ MORE: Spanish FA launch internal investigation after its sexual violence protocol is triggered amid the fallout from Luis Rubiales’ refusal to resign, FIFA suspension and widespread boycotts following ‘kiss-gate’

The Spanish football federation then called an ‘extraordinary and urgent’ meeting ‘to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself’. The crisis talks will take place later today.

Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, a referee and the current protocol protection delegate – whose role is to investigate and send her findings to the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee when a complaint has been submitted – revealed a probe had been launched.

‘Our protocol is currently activated and in the midst of investigating the events, thus we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved,’ she said in a letter published by the federation,’ she said.

‘As the protection delegate for sexual violence, my duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee.’

Hermoso has repeatedly said the kiss was not consensual and she felt ‘vulnerable and the victim of an aggression’. 

In a widely condemned statement, Spain’s football federation responded by publishing a string of photographs that claimed Hermoso instigated a clinch with Rubiales during the medal ceremony and consented to being kissed.

Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales (pictured) defiantly refused to resign in his speech

Rubiales sparked more outrage after footage emerged of him grabbing his crotch while celebrating Spain’s win in the vicinity of Spanish Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter

Rubiales also carried Spanish player Athenea del Castillo Beivide  during the celebrations

Fans hold banners in support of Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso as FIFA suspend President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales

Atletico Madrid players and staff hold a banner which reads: ‘We are with you Jennifer Hermoso’

Fans sit behind a banner reading ”We are with you Jenni’ in support of Jennifer Hermoso before a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Villarreal and Barcelona at the Ceramica stadium in Villarreal, Spain

Hermoso beams out to the crowds as she received a warm ovation while watching her former club take on Atletico Madrid

It threatened to sue Hermoso and branded her claims about Rubiales’ conduct during the final in Sydney as ‘lies’. It later deleted the statement.

Footage also emerged of Rubiales grabbing his crotch while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Infanta Sofia, and also lifting Athenea del Castillo over his shoulder during the celebrations. 

As the football federation hold their emergency meeting, feminist groups have also announced a demonstration in Madrid today titled ‘With You Jenni’. The backlash from the kiss adds further fuel to the mass protests against sexual abuse and violence which have taken place in Spain in recent years.

The fallout from Rubiales’ unwillingness to step down reached breaking point in recent days with several resignations and boycotts piling more pressure on the federation.

All 23 members of Spain’s World Cup winning squad signed a statement refusing to play until the 46-year-old was sacked.

The situation continued to intensify on Saturday as all 11 members of manager Jorge Vilda’s coaching staff walked out and condemned Rubiales’ conduct. 

Vilda, who has been head coach of the women’s national team since 2015, was the only member of the coaching staff not to step down. He did, however, condemn Rubiales’ actions as ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’, adding that the row has ‘tarnished a well-deserved victory’.  

Showing solidarity with his female counterparts, Spain striker Borja Iglesias has refused to turn out for the national team until Rubiales exits.

Jenni Hermoso released a lengthy statement on social media in response to the incident

Hermoso, 33, said through the Spanish players’ union FUTPRO that she ‘felt vulnerable’ after Rubiales kissed her following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England on Sunday

England’s Lionesses condemned the ‘unacceptable actions’ of Rubiales and called the Spanish FA ‘sexist and patriarchal’ 

FIFA’s ban initially lasts for 90 days, covers all football-related activity and instructs him to ‘refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact’ Hermoso.

While he continues to refuse to step down, Rubiales also faces fresh investigation from the Spanish government, who have started legal proceedings. Victor Francos, head of the government’s National Sports Council, said the government sees this as the ‘MeToo of Spanish football’.

Francos said: ‘What Mr Rubiales has done is aggravate the situation. The government will not be impassive.’

He continued: ‘The government begins today the procedures so that Mr Rubiales has to give explanations before the Administrative Court of Sport [TAD] and, if the TAD is willing, we will suspend Mr Rubiales in his functions.’

It is expected a court hearing will take place on Monday.


Photograph 1

The RFEF argue that Rubiales’ arms are only loosely on Hermoso’s back in this photo, meaning he could ‘exert no force’, and that his heels are raised

 The above image shows Rubiales smiling as he embraces Hermoso, with one hand on top of her head and the other on her back. 

In explanation, the RFEF states: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso, with her arms, grabs the RFEF President from behind, while Mr. President has his arms loose on the upper part of the player’s back. Therefore, no force could exert.

‘You can see how Mr. President has the heels of his feet raised slightly.’ 

 Photograph 2

Here, the RFEF maintains that Hermoso keeps her arms around the president and that his heels are raised. Only one of Hermoso’s arms and one of Rubiales’ feet are visible

 In the second image, Rubiales’ upper arm has moved lower down Hermoso’s head.

The RFEF explains: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso keeps her arms around Mr. President’s back. Mr. President keeps his arms on top of the player’s body.

‘It is verified how Mr. President already has much higher heels.’

Only one of Rubiales’ feet is visible in the photo.

 Photograph 3

The RFEF writes that ‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player’

 This third image, with Rubiales lifted off the ground, is where the RFEF’s statement ramps up in vehemence and attributes responsibility to Hermoso.

The RFEF states: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must bring his arms closer to the player’s back as a result of having lifted him off the ground and to maintain balance.

‘The inclination of the back of Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso that occurs when she is performing an action of force is indisputable.

‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player.’

 Photograph 4

The RFEF maintains its stance in the final photo, where Rubiales is still lifted off the ground

For this final photo provided, the RFEF explains: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must continue to hold on to the players so as not to fall and it is evident that the arching of the player’s body corresponds to the lifting force of Mr. President you are performing.

‘The feet of Mr. President are ostensibly raised off the ground as a result of the player’s action.

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