World Cup Kiss!

World Cup Kiss!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

It started with a kiss. A World Cup Championship, a celebration, an unwanted kiss and then all hell broke loose. Spain is in the spotlight, and we can’t seem to look away. In an amazing and thrilling display of talent, Spain’s women’s soccer team won their first World Cup, beating the great Lionesses of England. But it’s that crazy and creepy kiss that Spanish soccer federation president, Luis Rubiales. planted on star player, Jenni Hermoso that has created a firestorm.

Defiant and claiming that the kiss was “mutual” might not be the best strategy when it appears the recipient of said kiss was uncomfortable. Rubiales went on to call anyone who thought he was out of line “idiots” and “false feminists.” A brazen move. Apologize. Sincerely. Make amends!

Now the whole affair has blown up so that Spain’s entire women’s’ soccer team and eleven coaches have quit. And in an even more bizarre twist, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has stood by Rubiales and have threatened to sue Jenni Hermoso. Meanwhile FIFA (International Federation of Football) has suspended Rubiales. Spain’s Prime Minister is also getting involved.

In a stunning turn of events, this story just gets weirder. There are supporters of Rubiales who were having body language consultants, lip readers and psychologists analyze the video of the infamous kiss. Oh, come on, evidently this man has a long and well-known history of sexism, chauvinism and just plain bad behavior. This was a pattern, not just a one-off moment of exuberance.

Now Mr. Rubiales’s mother has barricaded herself inside a Catholic church and is on a hunger strike. All because she feels that folks are being mean to her boy. She is waiting for Ms. Hermoso to apologize to her son. Dear woman, please eat! Police, physicians and priests are trying to intervene. The Queen might step in to offer help. And just like that, a furor in Spain has erupted. Women are taking to the streets with “#MeToo” signs, priests are praying, football federation coaches and executives are sweating, and the government is investigating.

This is the kiss-gate story of the sports world. Spain’s government has launched an inquiry into the “obscene behaviors” displayed by Rubiales which have “undermined the dignity of Spain.” Well, I guess when you are at the final World Cup game being televised around the world and sitting in the presence of the Queen of Spain, cheering is good. But when the championship is clinched, it is considered boorish behavior to “act like a madman by forcing kisses, carrying players around the field like sacks and touching players inappropriately.” Yep, that happened.

One small act can lead to destruction. Actions have consequences. Before Spain can put all of this behind them, they need to keep their eye on the ball. Like in football. Yet it seems so many women players have quit, that no one can keep their eye on anything except the scandal. So, the saga still continues.

A championship. A kiss. Armageddon. A hunger strike. Mutiny of an entire team. Investigations. Suspensions. Firing. Protests. A crack in the foundation of women’s sports in Spain. Rebuilding comes next. Time to start over. Comenzar de nuevo.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at

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