Spain’s women’s national team is riding a tremendous wave of support after taking the gold at the FIFA World Cup Final on August 20.

During the post-game ceremony, it is typical for the heads of state and different soccer associations to congratulate the winners. What’s not typical is for one of those leading officials to kiss a player on the mouth. Something that happened to Spanish midfielder Jennifer Hermoso.

While accepting praise from Queen Letizia of Spain and other soccer officials, Hermoso was kissed by Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales, CNN reports.

The kiss surprised many, as it is not the norm at professional events. The wrongfully placed kiss made headlines worldwide, forcing Rubiales to release an official apology, per ESPN.


The head of Spain’s football body is under fire for kissing footballer Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth after the team won the Women’s World Cup. #spain #football #womensworldcup #wwc2023

♬ original sound – DW News

Jennifer Hermoso admitted to not liking the kiss during a live stream

Initially, Rubiales didn’t see anything wrong with the kiss. ESPN cites that he called folks who were bothered by it “idiots.” But he soon changed his tune and released a video apology to the media acknowledging that he messed up.

It is worth noting that the apology came after Miquel Iceta, the Spanish minister for culture and sport, said his actions were “unacceptable.”

According to ESPN, Rubiales admits to making “a mistake” and notes that he was caught up in the “emotion” of the moment.

So, how did Hermoso feel about it?

Spanish journalist Irati Vidal took to X to share a video from an Instagram live that Hermoso shared. In it, the 33-year-old can be seen celebrating with her team. Hermoso can be heard saying, “But what do I do? I didn’t like it eh.”

Despite the backlash, both Hermoso and her mother are defending Rubiales

In a turn of events, Hermoso changed her tune. The Hindustan Times reports that through a statement released to the Spanish press, Hermoso calls the kiss a gesture of “affection and gratitude.”

“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings,” Hermoso says in her statement.

She continues, “The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been outstanding and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude. A gesture of friendship and gratitude cannot be gone over so much, we have won a World Cup and we are not going to deviate from what is important.”

Her mother, Marisol Fuentes, also indirectly defends the situation as well, per La Opinion. In an interview with Televisión Española, Fuentes cites that people should be focusing on Spain’s win and nothing else.

Still, the internet has opened a debate about the kiss

As expected, the internet hasn’t taken to the kiss very well. One person on X questioned if it would happen to a man if roles were reversed. 

“If someone think it’s okay to kiss Jennifer Hermoso on the mouth, should give himself the answer to the following question. Had Rubiales also kissed Joselu? NO, of course not, he hadn’t,” they commented.

Another pointed out that Rubiales should be fired from his position. The user noted that allowing him to remain in his position was a “license for predators” to do what they wanted.

“Luis Rubiales should be sacked,” the post began. “If a coach kissed a female soccer player as Rubiales kid at the World Cup, the coach would be fired & possibly prosecuted. Allowing Rubiales to remain is a license for predators. Soccer authorities must have zero tolerance for sexual assault,” the X user concluded.

But not everyone deemed the kiss offensive. Some people were surprised that it became an “issue.”

“As God as my witness, I thought all Mediterranean people kissed everyone on the lips. I was really surprised this was an issue,” the X user posted. Another noted that it looked “friendly” to them.

Some questioned her response to the kiss. They shared, “Why did Jennifer Hermoso kiss him back?”