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UN Weighs in on Spanish Football's Kiss Scandal: Calls for End to Abuse and Sexism

Luis Rubiales Kiss Scandal

A kiss has never made such international noise. The UN's rights chief has declared the Spanish football kiss scandal involving Luis Rubiales and player Jenni Hermoso as a potential "turning point" to eradicate abuse and sexism in sports.

Hundreds of Hermoso's supporters, as well as the Spanish government, seem to agree, making a collective call for a systemic overhaul.

On Monday, a square in Madrid was flooded with protesters, who rallied under the slogan "Se Acabo" ("It's Over"), demanding an end to Rubiales' leadership and advocating for a change in the toxic culture pervasive in Spanish football and society at large. This came as Spain's football federation met to determine its course of action, following FIFA's 90-day suspension of Rubiales.



Last Friday, Hermoso publicly stated she felt "vulnerable and a victim" of Rubiales' "impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act" that lacked her consent. Adding to her account, she claimed that both Rubiales and the federation coerced her into stating that she consented to the kiss.

While the federation has called for Rubiales' resignation and advocates for Pedro Rocha, Rubiales' right-hand man, to lead "a new phase," it has stopped short of directly addressing the fate of women’s coach Jorge Vilda. Vilda’s staff resigned on Saturday, and the women's team insists he should go as well. The entire team has signed an open letter declaring that they won't return to the team unless Rubiales is removed from the federation.



Despite Rubiales' defiant proclamation that he would not quit, his mother, Angeles Bejar, has resorted to a hunger strike, stating that her son is the victim of a witch hunt and pledging not to eat until he gets justice.

In the meanwhile, the Spanish government is making moves to ensure Rubiales exits his post permanently and is also considering restructuring the federation to correct its gender imbalance.

Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, weighed in on the matter by expressing solidarity with Hermoso and stressing that everyone has the responsibility to call out and challenge abuse in sports.

kiss scandal protests madrid

With voices from the streets of Madrid to the corridors of the UN condemning this incident, the Spanish football kiss scandal could indeed mark a significant turning point, not just for the sport but for the broader battle against sexism and abuse. (AA)


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