A British broadcaster has defended the Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissing World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso this weekend – saying that British culture is ‘far more prudish’ than southern Europe.
Esther Krakue appeared on Good Morning Britain today, where she argued it’s ‘patronising’ to make an issue out of the incident when a statement from athlete later claimed it was a ‘natural gesture of affection’.
The journalist said: ‘The reality is, this is a grown woman, she’s 33. Yes she said that she didn’t like it at first but she also came out in a statement afterwards saying that she has a very close relationship with the president of the Spanish football federation.’
Meanwhile Esther, who said she had lived in France for a year when younger, said Europeans are ‘more affectionate’ than Brits, adding: ‘We have to contextualise it because I often say that British culture is far more reserved, far more prudish.’
Rubiales kissed player Hermoso on Sunday after the Spanish team won the World Cup – after which she said she ‘didn’t like it’.
Esther Krakue (pictured) told a Good Morning Debate that it’s ‘patronising’ to make an issue out of the incident when a statement from athlete later said it was a ‘natural gesture of affection’
However, football writer Colin Millar called the kiss ‘an offence’.
‘None of us are really to say what her thoughts and feelings are or what his thoughts and feeling are when we’re talking about consent around these issues,’ he told presenters.
He expressed that Jenni’s initial dislike on Instagram Live seemed ‘spontaneous’ and ‘off the cuff’ – whereas the later statement ‘felt like a bit of crisis management’ to get it ‘off the news agenda’.
‘He is her boss, he is the head of the Spanish Football Federation,’ Colin said.
‘When we’re talking about the women’s World Cup… we’re always talking about empowering women and treating them with respect, treating them with dignity and he failed on all three of those points.
The RFEF president swept Hermoso into a long hug before gripping the sides of her face and giving her a kiss on the mouth
However, football writer Colin Millar (pictured) called the kiss ‘an offense’ and said this wouldn’t have happened with a men’s team
‘And we know that because he treats women differently – he would not have treated men like that.
‘It wasn’t just Jenni Hermoso, it was other players. After the match, there was pictures of him kissing them on the cheek and on the head and being very touchy feely.’
However, Esther stressed that cultural and interpersonal context should be the priority.
‘It’s very common, I lived in France for a year, you know, the “bisous”, it’s very common – they always kiss you on the cheek.
‘We have to be very careful,’ she told Colin, ‘because here you are as a man obviously saying that it’s uncomfortable… tantamount to sexual assault.
‘This is a grown woman, she’s 33 years old, she’s saying how she feels.’
Esther added that ‘people from southern Europe tend to be affectionate’.
Rubiales was part of a receiving line of dignitaries, including Spain’s Queen Letizia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, that the Spanish side were congratulated by before receiving their medals after beating England 1-0 at Stadium Australia.
Players had their hands shaken, their cheeks double-kissed, and were hugged before captain Olga Carmona hoisted the trophy aloft, but many on social media argued that Rubiales’ behaviour took the celebrations too far.
The RFEF president swept Hermoso into a long hug before gripping the sides of her face and giving her a kiss on the mouth.
Rubiales was part of a receiving line of dignitaries, including Spain’s Queen Letizia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino, that the Spanish side were congratulated by before receiving their medals after beating England 1-0 at Stadium Australia
For her part, Hermoso was uncomfortable with the interaction, sharing in interviews during Spain’s raucous dressing room celebrations that she ‘did not like it’. Pictured: Spain’s Queen Letizia pictured celebrating with the national team
After receiving widespread criticism for his actions at the final, Rubiales was first defiant in his defence of the kiss.
‘The kiss with Jenni?’ Rubiales said when questioned on Radio Marca. ‘There are idiots everywhere.
‘When two people have an insignificant show of affection, we cannot pay attention to idiocy. We are champions, and with that, I stay’.
The president was more full throated with his defensive in conversation with Spanish programme El Partidazo, saying that he would ‘not pay attention to the idiots, and the stupid, really.’
It’s a peak of two friends celebrating something,’ he continued. ‘We’re not here for bulls***. Me, with everything I’ve been through, more bulls*** and more a**holes, no.
‘Let’s ignore it and enjoy the good stuff and don’t even tell me things about losers who can’t see (the positive).
‘It is a thing without evil. If there are fools, let them continue with their nonsense. There are more fools than windows. Let’s pay attention to those who are not fools.
‘It is something without evil and nonsense.’
Rubiales finished his argument by implying that people were ‘wasting time’ discussing the incident.
For her part, Hermoso was uncomfortable with the interaction, sharing in interviews during Spain’s raucous dressing room celebrations that she ‘did not like it’.
‘It was an emotion of the moment, there is nothing beyond it,’ Hermoso added in conversation with El Tiempo de Juego. ‘It will remain an anecdote. I’m sure that it won’t go any further’.
In a statement released via the RFEF, Hermoso urged focus back onto Spain’s historic achievement, later sharing: ‘(The kiss from Rubiales was) a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup.
;The president and I have a great relationship, his behavior with all of us has been ten and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.
‘A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot be given more thought, we have won a World Cup and we are not going to deviate from what is important.’
Rubiales later apologised for the kiss.
‘I have made a mistake and I have to admit it. It wasn’t done in bad faith; it was a moment of great emotion,’ he said.
‘Inside [the group] we saw it as natural, but on the outside it has caused a commotion.’
The team pictured with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Queen Letizia as they bask in their victory
‘I have to apologise, learn from this, and understand that when you are the president you have to be more careful.’
Rubiales also talked about his comments made towards his detractors, such as calling people ‘idiots’.
He said: ‘There are also some statements on my part where, in this context, when I say that this seems idiotic to me, it is because inside here nobody gave it the slightest importance, but outside they have given it [importance] to them.’
Earlier, Spain’s Sports Minister Miquel Iceta said: ‘The first thing [Rubiales] has to do is to explain himself and apologise. Those of us who have public responsibilities have to be extremely careful because what we do sends a message to society.’
‘We all have to be especially careful in our attitudes and our actions. I think it is unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her.’
After an eventful day, Hermoso imitated Lionel Messi from last year by going to sleep with the World Cup.