That FIFA Kiss 


Controversy mares Spanish women’s football after a much publised incident at the winner’s ceremony on the 20th August in Sydney, Australia. The incident involved the head of women’s football in Spain Luis Rubiales kissing the team captain Jenni Hermoso. The incident has once again enraged many women in sport and elsewhere and is being framed as another me-too event. There is no doubt that women still need to fight the cause of gender parity but has there been an overreaction?

Of twenty-three women’s team receiving medals, why kiss the lips of only its captain. Luis Rubiales, Spanish football president, accuses Jenni Hermoso of lying over the kiss. Later in the evening of 20th August, the country’s all-time record goal scorer 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.”

Spain’s win at the highly successful women’s World Cup has much to do with both its 33 captain and the Spanish women’s football supremo especially considering the macho conservatism that pervades the beautiful game in Spain. Such a reaction at the height of their mutual joy should not be so unexpected. But apart from the incident at the Cup Final, cheek kissing Latino style three times is ok, hugs are OK, back -patting is ok and even the potentially belittling lifting off the ground is OK, yet lip kissing not OK. Is it rational – not all. One would wholly understand the furore if the guy made an overt sexual gesture, but he did not, just a kiss on the lips.

Muslims cannot even touch the opposite sex in public and feminists rightly lam-blast such backward regressive attitudes in say Saudi Arabia. Let them make their minds up. Is it good or bad to allow public displays of emotion between the sexes. And if it’s good then the possibility exists for errors of judgement.

Males are now living in constant fear of female backlash and retribution if a social error of judgement is made. Let us see the incident for what it was – a spontaneous reaction of absolute joy between two close colleagues and not sexual abuse. Once again let’s congratulate Spain – who never having made it to the final before went on to win it.