What should have been a celebration of Spanish football has turned into an almighty row between the women’s team and the leaders of the game.
The Women’s World Cup winners are refusing to play while the country’s federation boss Luis Rubiales clings onto his job – as FIFA provisionally suspended him on Saturday from “all football-related activities”.
The crisis was caused after Mr Rubiales kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards presentation following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England on Sunday in Sydney, Australia.
This is what those involved have said in the days following the incident.
In an Instagram video during celebrations after the incident, the 33-year-old said: “I did not like it, but what could I do?”
She later told the AFP news agency: “It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture because of the immense joy that winning a World Cup brings.
“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.”
She also downplayed the kiss in a statement released by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
But in a statement released by players’ union FUTPRO on Friday, she said she was “vulnerable” and “the victim of an aggression”.
“I want to clarify that, as was seen in the images, at no time did I consent to the kiss he gave me and, of course, in no case did I seek to lift the president,” she said.
“I do not tolerate that my word is questioned and much less that words that I have not said are invented.”
Luis Rubiales’ apology
The 46-year-old issued an apology on Monday, which said: “We saw it as something normal, natural and not in any way in bad faith. But outside it seems that a commotion has been created.
“When you are president of an institution as important as the federation, you have to be more careful.”
At an extraordinary general assembly called by the RFEF on Friday, at which he was widely expected to stand down, he declared “I won’t resign,” five times in quick succession to applause from many of the male-dominated audience.
He claimed the kiss was “mutual and with the consent” of Hermoso and said that he was the victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists.”
In his speech he said the player “lifted me up” in a celebratory gesture and he asked her for “a little kiss?” and she “said yes.”
“The kiss was the same I could give one of my daughters,” Rubiales said.
He said that he would defend his honour in court against politicians, including two ministers, who called his kiss an act of sexual violence.
What the Spanish players’ union says
FUTPRO on Wednesday said it would defend Hermoso’s interests and ensure that the act “does not go unpunished.”
A total of 56 players, including all of the 23-strong World Cup-winning squad, signed a joint statement after Mr Rubiales refused to resign on Friday in which they said they will not play any further matches until the “federation leadership is removed”.
The Spanish football federation’s response
RFEF has stood by Mr Rubiales, accusing Hermoso and FUTPRO of lying and threatening legal action.
A lengthy statement released by the federation in the early hours of Saturday morning was accompanied by four photos said to support his version of events, two of which show him hugging Hermoso with his feet off the ground.
“The tests are conclusive. Mr President has not lied,” the statement said.
“The RFEF and Mr President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself.
“The RFEF and Mr President, given the seriousness of the content of the FUTPRO Union’s press release, will initiate the corresponding legal actions.”
What has FIFA done?
Football’s world governing body suspended Mr Rubiales on Saturday and ordered him and the RFEF not to contact or try to contact Hermoso.
FIFA said in a statement: “The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Jorge Ivan Palacio (Colombia), in use of the powers granted by article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level.
“This suspension, which will be effective as of today, is for an initial period of 90 days, pending the disciplinary proceedings opened against Mr Luis Rubiales on Thursday 24 August.”