I’m back way sooner than I was planning on because so much World Cup-related stuff has happened since the last ball was kicked. Hey, stupid! We’re doing another installment of World Cup news!
What? I’m working on my fantasy football team. The Women’s World Cup is over, and Spain won.
Oh, yes, but the mierda has really hit the fan since then. You remember how I mentioned Luis Rubiales kissing one of his players, Jennifer Hermoso, against her will during the postgame celebration, right?
I didn’t mention it, but he also grabbed his crotch in front of the queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter, kissed a bunch of others players, and told them he wanted to marry Hermoso. Remember when I said in my last blog post that Rubiales was known for being a camera hog? Um, not so much anymore.
Well, Rubiales initially put out a half-assed apology on video, while the federation issued a statement quoting Hermoso as forgiving him and saying that the kiss was just an overenthusiastic reaction to the win. That did nothing to quell the uproar in Spain, where the prime minister of the country, the minister of sports, and the deputy prime minister (who is the highest-ranking woman in the government) all demanded his resignation. Also, Hermoso released her own statement saying that she never said the thing in the federation’s statement, and she would be retaining a lawyer. ESPN reported this past Thursday that he would be stepping down, and the Spanish reporters gathered for his press conference on Friday were fully expecting that to happen.
And that didn’t happen?
In a scene out of The Wolf of Wall Street, Rubiales pounded the podium and said, “I will not resign! I will not resign! I will not resign! I will not resign! I will not resign!” He did not then threaten to hold his breath until he died, but that would have fit the mood. He called his accusers “fake feminists” and accused them of trying to kill him. It was a speech worthy of joining the worst soccer press-conference meltdowns in history. The room, which was filled with Rubiales’ underlings at the RFEF (the national soccer federation in Spain) erupted in applause. There was some speculation in the immediate aftermath of Spain’s win that the men in charge might now listen to their players who had won the World Cup, but this group seems unlikely to. Guys, maybe you don’t want Jordan Belfort running your national soccer association.
What about Coach Jorge Vilda?
He was leading the applause, as well he might. It was expected that he would resign alongside his longtime ally Rubiales, but instead Rubiales announced he was giving Vilda a four-year contract extension worth €500,000. On Sunday, Vilda and other men seen cheering on Rubiales two days before denounced him without addressing their own conduct. Oh, he may have groped a woman his own self in the aftermath of the World Cup win.
How did Spain react to this?
The Spanish government is now looking at legal action to remove him, while all 23 players on that World Cup-winning team plus 58 others signed a petition saying they won’t play for Spain again until he and Vilda are gone. Eleven of Vilda’s assistant coaches have resigned as well, expressing solidarity with the players.
Does that matter? The World Cup is over.
Actually, it does. Spain has another match against Sweden next month that will determine which of those countries goes to the Olympics next summer. It’s going to be strange if there’s an Olympic soccer tournament without the reigning World Cup champ. The Swedes may have a chance to avenge their World Cup defeat by tearing apart a makeshift Spain team with a larger-than-usual audience watching.
Maybe Rubiales did just overreact in an appropriate way. Winning a World Cup can make people do strange things.
This isn’t an isolated incident. In the wake of the kiss, more allegations have come to light about him asking women about their panties around the office. Also, after he refused to stage Copa del Rey matches in America, only to turn around and take Saudi blood money to stage them in Morocco, he accused his enemies of trying to plant cocaine in his car.
Sounds like this guy needs psychiatric help. What else has happened since Rubiales’ presser?
Encouragingly, in the country that invented machismo, there has been no outpouring of support for Rubiales, as current and former players on the men’s team condemned his behavior. Some of them took to Twitter (sorry, X), with Iker Casillas proclaiming his embarrassment and David de Gea saying, “My ears are bleeding.”
Vergüenza ajena. 🤦🏻♂️
— Iker Casillas (@IkerCasillas) August 25, 2023
Me sangran los oídos 🎪🎭
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) August 25, 2023
Twitter (aah, X!): the perfect place to take a crap on people who deserve it. (Actually, you can argue this is the only thing it was ever good for.) Outside of social media, Xavi, the World Cup winner and coach of Barcelona’s men’s team joined in the condemnation. During his pregame press conference, he had to cut off questions about Rubiales at seven, showing just how much this controversy has engulfed Spain. Don’t be too quick to applaud the men — Spain is launching a bid to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, and if Rubiales remains the public face of that bid, it’s going to be DOA. After Hermoso reiterated that she did not consent to the kiss, the bros at RFEF put out a condescending statement that essentially said, “You wanted it, bitch!” She has received support from some of USA’s players, players from other countries, the players’ union, and some of Spain’s club teams (biggest among them Atlético de Madrid). Now FIFA has given Rubiales a provisional suspension while they conduct their own investigation, and Rubiales is threatening to sue everyone.
What do we take away from all this?
Like I said in my previous post, being a woman athlete sucks sometimes. The great thing about Spain winning is that it exposed these men for what they are in front of the entire world. Had Spain lost that quarterfinal match to the Dutch, we probably wouldn’t hear about any of this. And if you drilled a hole in the top of Rubiales’ head, he would look like a penis. This story continues to develop, and if we have any more telenovela-worthy developments, I’ll let you know.