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Kissgate: Jenni Hermoso’s version of gender equality in football is quite special

Jenni Hermoso
Jenni Hermoso

Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso revealed a lot of things about herself in an interview following the unfortunate incident that made her and her FA president famous in a way sane people would not wish. One of the things she talked about was gender equality in football.


After FA president Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips at the award-giving ceremony of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, in which Spain were the champions, Hermoso alleged the kiss was not consensual, stirring up global controversy. The president was banned by FIFA for three years later.

‘I have always liked being with the national team, representing my country, but there was something that never let me fully enjoy it and if this had not happened, everything would have remained the same,’ Hermoso said during the interview.

‘Also having to tell [about the kiss incident] over and over again was hurting me a lot,’ she revealed. ‘But I know I had to let it go somehow. 

‘I continue working on it with the help of my psychologist, who I have been with for many years. For me, mental health is as important as daily training, like the hours I have to sleep to be able to go out on the field. 

‘Thanks to her I feel strong and I am not broken down or thinking about not wanting to play soccer anymore. “I have not lost my enthusiasm.” ‘

A statement released by FIFA lately had read, ‘The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years, having found that he acted in breach of article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.

‘This case relates to the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on 20 August 2023, for which Mr Rubiales had been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days.

‘Mr Rubiales has been notified of the terms of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s decision today. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, he has ten days in which to request a motivated decision. The decision remains subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.

‘FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.’

In reply to this, Rubiales wrote thusly on his X (formerly Twitter) wall, ‘I am announcing as of now that I will be appealing.

‘I will go to the last resort so that justice is done and the truth shines. Due to the many efforts of some politicians, media and institutions, the disproportion and injustice committed is becoming increasingly clear.’

But it was not only Luis Rubiales that came under fire during the peak of the controversy.

‘I have received threats, and that is something you never get used to,’ said Hermoso whom several males and females thought allowed a hill to be made out of a molehill.

‘With everything that’s happened, I think a lot of us have been more aware of what the word ‘feminism’ really means, including a lot of friends and family,’ said Hermoso. ‘We, in football, have experienced first-hand the fight for equality. 

‘They have called us capricious. It has always been said that we wanted to earn the same as the boys and it was not true. It makes me very angry when they say that women’s football does not generate as much as men’s football.

‘Obviously we know this and we have never asked to get paid like them. We simply wanted the most basic thing: to have a minimum wage, to be respected and to be given the opportunity to do something very great. As soon as we had it, we won a world championship .’

The Pachuca player thought that being able to fight for more dignified conditions for female football players was something to be proud of.

I have always lived in a humble neighborhood and it is essential to take the worker into account. Thanks to this sport we have a position and we can change many lives, even if we are not fully aware of it. Now, as champions, we are heard more. On a personal level, I don’t fight for status,’ she said. ‘For me, my life is my neighborhood, my family, my people, the most basic things. 

‘I will never do anything just to make more money. Being able to fight for this [more dignified conditions for female soccer players] is another source of pride and that is where I really want to be noticed.

‘If I have to put my face forward to achieve change, go ahead.’

Jenni Hermoso was initially excluded from Spain’s squad under new female coach Montse Tome, but returned to score the winning goal in a recent match against Italy.

Her idea of gender equality is also what many think feminists want.

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