UN urges Spain to handle world cup kiss row with respect for female athletes

United Nations, Aug 28 (EFE).- The United Nations called on Spain Monday to address the World Cup kiss row in a manner that upholds the rights of all female athletes.

Luis Rubiales, the chief of the Spanish soccer federation, finds himself at the heart of a growing crisis after he kissed star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup on August 20.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, waded into the storm that has engulfed the Spanish football.

“There is a critical issue of sexism that remains in sports,” Dujarric said.

The UN spokesperson referred not only to the Spanish case but also to the broader context of sexism that female athletes confront on a daily basis.

Dujarric said he hoped the Spanish authorities would address sexism “in a manner that respects the rights of all female athletes.”

Rubiales, 46, grabbed Hermoso, 33, and kissed her lips in front of a gathering as he felicitated the Spanish team on winning the World Cup.

Asked whether the UN views Rubiales’ actions as a potential instance of sexual assault, Dujarric stated that there was no evidence to suggest that the kiss was consensual.

Rubiales was provisionally suspended by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, over the weekend amid an ongoing probe by the Spanish football federation’s (RFEF) Sexual Violence Advisory Committee.

The beleaguered soccer chief admitted to making a mistake, while Hermoso expressed feeling violated by the incident.

Dujarric’s statement adds to the unprecedented attention that international media are giving to the Rubiales case, with coverage that goes far beyond strictly sports-related matters.

In recent days, the case has emerged as one of the most widely covered news stories in the media. EFE


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