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Spain soccer kiss: Furore grows as prosecutors launch probe against federation chief



Media are pictured outside a church in Motril where the mother of Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales, Angeles Bejar is on hunger strike. August 28, 2023. REUTERS/Mariano Valldolid Acquire Licensing Rights

Spain’s High Court prosecutor on Monday opened a preliminary investigation into whether national soccer chief Luis Rubiales might have committed an act of sexual aggression when he grabbed player Jenni Hermoso and kissed her on the lips after Spain’s victory in the women’s World Cup.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said the court had received several complaints but would launch a full inquiry only if Hermoso sought one. Hermoso has said she did not want to be kissed.

The move increased the pressure on Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), who was suspended by FIFA on Saturday amid a furore over the incident at the ceremony following Spain’s World Cup win in Sydney on Aug. 20.

Rubiales, 46, has refused to step down, saying the kiss – which took place in a globally watched live broadcast – was consensual. Hermoso, her teammates and the Spanish government say it was unwanted and demeaning.

Following a marathon meeting, the RFEF regional chiefs unanimously requested in a statement on Monday night the immediate resignation of Rubiales following the recent events and the “unacceptable behaviours” that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish football.


The situation has spiralled into a national row over women’s rights, macho behaviour and sexual abuse.

The Sports Administrative Court was due to decide whether to take up a case against Rubiales after an extraordinary meeting on Monday.

Acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said that Rubiales’ defiance and the support from some federation members showed that macho behaviour was systemic in Spanish society.

“What footballer Jenni Hermoso experienced should never have happened,” Diaz said in a video statement prior to a meeting with the women’s players’ union.

In the evening, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Madrid at protests called by feminist groups in support of Hermoso and against Rubiales.


People called for his resignation, chanting: “It’s not a kiss, it is aggression.”

United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Monday that sexism was still a critical issue in sport and urged the Spanish authorities and government to deal “with this in a manner that respects the rights of all female athletes.”

“How difficult is it not to kiss somebody on the lips? I don’t see any indication that anything was consensual,” Dujarric added.

In a further twist, Rubiales’ mother locked herself inside a church and started a hunger strike to protest against her son’s treatment.

All 23 players on Spain’s cup-winning squad including Hermoso, as well as dozens of other squad members, said on Friday they would not play internationals while Rubiales remained head of the federation. Their next match is away to Sweden in the Nations League on Sept. 22.



At a federation meeting on Friday where he had been widely expected to step down, Rubiales refused to quit, seeking to defend his behaviour and calling the kiss “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual.”

RFEF has said Rubiales would defend himself legally to prove “his complete innocence.”

Diaz, who is also deputy prime minister in the acting Socialist government, on Monday met representatives of the women’s players’ union FUTPRO, which represents Hermoso, and the Association of Spanish Footballers.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, she condemned RFEF members who had applauded Rubiales’ non-resignation on Friday. Diaz called for victims of sexual harassment and violence to be better protected.

“On Friday we saw the worst of Spanish society, of the structural machismo of this country,” she said.


“They clapped and humiliated and made fun of a person they had the obligation to protect under the sports law and far from doing that, they inflicted more damage, more pain, more vexation.”

The coaches who applauded Rubiales were not fit to stay in their posts, she said.

Meanwhile in defence of Rubiales, his mother Angeles Bejar was holed up inside the church of Divina Pastora in the family’s hometown of Motril, southern Spain, along with her sister.

“She has gone on hunger strike, she does not want to leave the church,” Vanessa Ruiz, a cousin of Rubiales, told reporters outside the church.

Ruiz said the family wanted Hermoso to “tell the truth” that the kiss was not forced.


Bejar told EFE news agency her hunger strike would last “until a solution is found to the inhumane and bloody hunt they are carrying out against my son with something he does not deserve.”

Ruiz said Rubiales’ family was “suffering a lot for him, we don’t think that what’s happening is fair.”

“He has been judged ahead of time,” she said.

Hermoso has said she did not consent to the kiss and felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression.”

Gender issues are a prominent topic in Spain. Tens of thousands of women have taken part in street marches protesting against sexual abuse and violence in recent years, and the Socialist-led coalition government has reformed laws including around equal pay and abortion rights.




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament



Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.



Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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Nigeria’s Flamingos drawn against debuting hosts in FIFA U-17 World Cup



The Flamingos, Nigeria’s U-17 women’s football team have been drawn against hosts, Dominican Republic for the finals of the Women’s U-17 World Cup holding from 16 October to 3 November in two host cities of Santo Domingo  and Santiago de los Caballeros.

 Both Nigeria and Dominican Republic are drawn in Group A along with Ecuador and New Zealand.  In Group B are Spain, USA, Korea Republic and Colombia.

Group C has  Korea DPR, Mexico, Kenya and England while those competing in Group D are  Japan , Poland, Brazil and Zambia.

The hosts will make their debut in the competition on 16 October against Ecuador in Santiago de los Caballeros, with New Zealand and Nigeria completing Group A.

Herrera, the first Dominican woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, had a special message for her compatriots taking part in the World Cup. She said: “I am the living example that you can achieve your dreams. So, keep up the good work. I am looking forward to seeing those amazing games.”


Reigning champions Spain, meanwhile, will kick off their campaign in Group B, in which they will face USA, Korea Republic and Colombia, runners-up last time around.

“The advice to all the players that will participate here is to be confident and go live your dream. ¡Y Buena suerte!” said Flores, who took part in this tournament two years ago in India.

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Dominican Republic 2024:Flamingos land in the Dominican Republic!



Nigeria’s U17 girls, Flamingos, have secured their ticket to the 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals to be staged in the Dominican Republic later this year, after a 2-0 defeat of their Liberian counterparts at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Friday.

Victory took the aggregate tally to 6-1 in favour of Nigeria, with extraordinary poacher Harmony Chidi setting a record of 13 goals in a qualifying series that will be difficult to equal in years to come. She had 11 goals before kick-off, but netted the two goals of the evening to take Nigeria’s total of the series to a whopping 25. Central African Republic fell by a dozen goals while Burkina Faso fell 1-7 on aggregate.

Her first came after only four minutes when she sped past the Liberian defence to toe-poke the ball beyond the flailing arms of goalkeeper Makula Konneh from a cross by Shakirat Moshood.

A goal feast was expected, but this did not happen, as Peace Effiong had a close call in the 17th and Moshood rocked the crossbar a minute after from 20 yards. Moshood also missed from close range with 10 minutes left of the first half.

In the 56th minute, Moshood blasted beyond the goalpost when faced with Konneh, but Harmony Chidi made sure of her brace seven minutes later when she lashed the ball beyond Konneh’s reach as Nigeria seized the ball from a defensive slip-up by the visitors.


The 8th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup finals will be staged in the cities of Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, 16th October – 3rd November.

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