Spain has condemned inappropriate World Cup kiss. Can it now reckon with sexism in soccer?

When Patricia Otero watched the president of Spain’s soccer federation tarnish the greatest victory in the history of women’s sports in Spain by forcibly kissing a player on the lips during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony, she was saddened — but not surprised.

For this amateur soccer player, the kiss that Luis Rubiales pressed on Spain forward Jenni Hermoso was simply the most public and notorious example of the treatment she and her teammates received as girls and young women.

“We have seen that all our lives,” the 30-year-old told The Associated Press from the southern city of Malaga, where she still plays soccer when not teaching high school. And when Rubiales tried to justify the kiss by saying it was like one he would have “given my daughters,” it sounded eerily familiar.

“I had a coach who would pat our butts, and always while acting friendly, saying, ‘You are like a daughter to me.’ And that was when you are still not adult enough to know what he is doing,” she said. “You think it is normal.”

  • August 31, 2023
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