The recent Women’s World Cup victory for Spain has been overshadowed by allegations of inappropriate behavior by the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales. Spanish star forward, Olga Carmona, publicly expressed her disgust and anger at the unwanted kiss Rubiales planted on her right cheek following their win at the tournament.
Carmona was quoted as saying, This is a victory of saying no to harassment and sexism. Women have overcome this. It is very sad that such a celebration has been tarnished by his gesture.
Rubiales’ action was widely condemned, with Spanish Football Association President, Javier Tebas, also voicing his disapproval and demanding an apology.
Women’s football is our present and our future. What happened last night with Olga Carmona must not happen again. Luis Rubiales, as president of the Spanish Football Federation, must apologize in public, said Tebas.
The incident comes at a time when football is trying to clean up its image with regards to sexism. The new president of the International Football Association Board (IFAB), Edoardo Valverde, has been vocal in his support of gender equality in football, and has made it a keystone of his rhetoric since taking office.
It appears that Rubiales has let his team down with his actions. It’s clear that football is still a sport heavily dominated by men and sexism is still a huge problem. The Spanish Football Federation needs to make a concerted effort to ensure that the actions of its president do not reflect on the reputation of the organisation or its players.
The only way to move forward is for Rubiales to offer a sincere and public apology to Olga Carmona, and for the football community at large to use this incident as an opportunity to further promote gender equality. This is the only way we can ensure that such a regrettable incident does not happen again.