Pressure on Rubiales grows as Spanish PM says his apologies aren’t enough

August 23 – Spain’s acting prime minister says it is “unacceptable” that Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales planted an unsolicited kiss on the lips of World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso without her consent as pressure builds on Rubiales to resign.

Pedro Sánchez praised the team during an audience at the presidential palace on Tuesday but later joined the growing criticism of the increasingly controversial Rubiales.

“What we saw is unacceptable,” Sánchez said. “And the apologies offered by Mr. Rubiales are not sufficient, I would call them inappropriate, so he must continue taking further steps to clarify what we all saw.”

Rubiales prompted fury and a torrent of social media comment after kissing Hermoso on the mouth during the Women’s World Cup final trophy presentation ceremony.

The 1-0 win over England prompted scenes of jubilation and tears from the triumphant Spanish players, but Rubiales, on stage during the post-match formalities, went a step further with Hermoso later saying she did not enjoy his behaviour.

Rubiales defended his actions which he argued were in the heat of the moment, before apologising for the “effusiveness”.

But the incident cast an unfortunate shadow over Spain’s unexpected World Cup success at a time when gender issues have become a hot topic in the country.

The country’s leading opposition party has joined in denouncing Rubiales’ behaviour, leaving him without any support from major public or political figures.

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