Spain’s men’s national team on Monday denounced the “unacceptable behaviour” of the country’s suspended football chief Luis Rubiales over his infamous World Cup kiss.
Rubiales, 46, has defied expectations and refused to resign as president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) after forcibly kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup.
Atletico Madrid’s Alvaro Morata read out a statement on behalf of the entire team congratulating their female counterparts on “a historic” achievement.
He said the men’s team “expressed their solidarity with the women players and deplored that their success had been tarnished” by Rubiales at the August 20 prize giving ceremony in Sydney.
Morata added: “We want to denounce the unacceptable behaviour of Mr Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents.
“We are firmly on the side of the values enshrined in sport.
“Spanish football should be the source of respect, inspiration, inclusivity and diversity, and should lead by example in its behaviour both on and off the pitch.”
Hermoso has joined a mass strike of women players, saying she did not consent to the kiss.
Women players’ union Futpro, Hermoso and 80 other players have said they would not accept an international call-up “if the current leadership continues” at the RFEF.
Rubiales has stood firm in refusing to stand down from his post “because of a little consensual kiss”, provoking widespread indignation.
World football’s governing body FIFA has suspended him for 90 days and launched a disciplinary inquiry into his behaviour.
Rubiales is also the subject of an investigation by Spain’s sports court.