The Spanish men’s national team has spoken out in solidarity with the World Cup-winning women’s side and condemned Spain FA president Luis Rubiales for his ‘unacceptable behaviour’.
Rubiales kissed Spain player Jenni Hermoso without her consent after the World Cup final win over England and has been under fire ever since.
After refusing to resign from his position as president of the Spanish Football Federation in the wake of the backlash, Rubiales was given a 90-day suspension by FIFA and ordered not to contact Hermoso.
Rubiales has accused Hermoso of lying about her version of events and, in an attempt to clear his name, sent a video to FIFA showing the Spanish player laughing about the incident with her teammates.
He then issued a statement last week again defending himself and doubling down on his position.
The captains of Spain’s men’s team – Alvaro Morata, Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodrigo Hernandez and Marco Asensio – have issued a statement in response, criticising the behaviour of Rubiales and supporting the women’s side.
Read out by Morata on Monday, the statement read: ‘Once concentrated in Las Rozas, the National Team players want to highlight several issues regarding the latest events that have damaged the image of Spanish football: First of all, we want to convey, once again, our pride and our most sincere congratulations to the Women’s National Team for the title of World Champions in Sydney.
‘A historical milestone full of meaning that will mark a before and after in Spanish women’s football, inspiring many women with a triumph of incalculable value.
‘For this reason, we want to regret and express our solidarity with the players who have seen their success tarnished.
‘We want to reject what we consider unacceptable behaviour on the part of Mr Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents.
‘We place ourselves firmly and clearly on the side of the values that sport represents. Spanish football must be an engine of respect, inspiration, inclusion and diversity and must set an example with its conduct both on and off the field.
‘From today, we face a decisive concentration for the future of Spanish football on our way to qualify for Euro 2024 with two games against Georgia and Cyprus. We would like that, from now on, we could focus on sporting issues given the relevance of the challenges that lie ahead.’
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