UN Women issued a statement on Tuesday hailing the decision by the global football organization FIFA to suspend Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales for kissing star player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips without her consent, after the national team won the Women’s World Cup earlier this month.
“UN Women, as a supporter of women’s sport and partner of FIFA, welcomes FIFA’s decisive action with regard to the actions of the Spanish football federation president and the launching of a full investigation after a clearly inappropriate act towards a sportswoman at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup final,” it said.
Spain defeated favourites England 1-0, scoring its first-ever victory at the competition, which takes place every four years. This year’s tournament was held in Australia and New Zealand.
The kiss occurred during the medal ceremony in Sydney on 20 August. Mr. Rubiales said he made a mistake and that the kiss was consensual, but Ms. Hermoso has stated emphatically that it was unsolicited and she felt violated.
Since then, there have been calls for Mr. Rubiales to resign and the winning squad has said it would not play for Spain until he is removed.
FIFA announced on Saturday that he has been suspended for 90 days while disciplinary proceedings are underway.
Red card for harassment
UN Women said it “joins all those asserting zero tolerance for any form of abuse or harassment, at anytime, anywhere in women’s sports.”
“Women everywhere have the right to fully participate in sports without any form of abuse or harassment – be it behind closed doors, in locker rooms, on social media, or on the world stage,” the statement said.
Furthermore, everyone involved in sports, at whatever level, has a duty to play their part.
“We must collectively commit that violence, harassment, and abuse in women’s sport will not be tolerated and cannot continue, so that we can truly say it’s over.”