The entirety of the Spanish Women’s World Cup football team and dozens of other players said on Friday they would no longer represent their country until Luis Rubiales is removed as head of the national football federation.
In the days that followed, he rejected repeated calls to step down and defended his kiss as “mutual, euphoric, and consensual.”
But Hermoso denied this in a letter signed by 56 female Spanish football players on Friday.
“I want to clarify that just as the images suggest, at no point did I consent to the kiss he gave me,” Hermoso said in the statement.
“I do not tolerate that my word be questioned,” Hermoso said, rejecting any statements that had been attributed to her by Rubiales in his speech.
She and the other signatories said they would not return to the team unless the federation leadership is removed.
“We want to express that all the players signing this letter will not come back to play for the national team if the current leaders are still in place,” the letter read.
Rubiales facing possible suspension
Spain’s governing sports body, the CSD, said on Friday it will request the suspension of Rubiales.
Victor Francos, who is the president of the CSD and the country’s sports minister, said the government would “initiate proceedings” to require Rubiales to explain himself before a tribunal as soon as possible.
Rubiales would then be suspended if the administrative court finds that the controversial kiss, which Hermoso said was unwanted, violated the country’s sports code.
“I think we can say it is the MeToo of Spanish football,” Francos told journalists just hours after Rubiales announced he would not step down.
“There has to be a change. The government wants to warn, to be very clear and say that there are things that can’t happen again,” he added.
Spain’s women’s football league, Liga F, said it also lodged its own complaint with the CSD over Rubiales’ “very serious actions and behaviour.”
“For a boss to grab his employee by the head and kiss her on the mouth simply cannot be tolerated,” it said.
The controversy has also entered Spanish politics.
Rubiales was condemned by Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and several government ministers, some of whom Rubiales threatened to sue over their comments.
Meanwhile, FIFA launched its own proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday.