People show banners that read 'Jenni, we are with you' during a march to show support to Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso in Gijon, Spain, 01 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/Eloy Alonso

Spanish sports minister backs Hermoso over legal action against Rubiales

Brussels, Sep 7 (EFE).- Spain’s acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta said on Thursday that the government will “always be on the side of women exploring all possibilities to defend their rights,” after soccer player Jenni Hermoso filed a complaint with the public prosecutors over a forced kiss by the suspended president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales.

Spain’s acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta talks to reporters outside the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on 7 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/Pablo Garrigos

Talking to reporters at the European Parliament in Brussels, Iceta expressed the government’s respect and support for Hermoso. He was in Brussels to present Spain’s priorities in terms of culture for the current semester.

Over a week after the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office offered her the opportunity to take legal action against Rubiales over his non-consensual kiss during Spain’s world cup victory celebrations on Aug. 20, on Tuesday Hermoso lodged a formal complaint.

Now the Prosecutor’s Office will present a complaint against Rubiales before the Central Courts of Instruction of the National High Court, as the event took place outside the country in Australia.

Iceta said he would welcome a discussion on the topic in the European parliament in Strasbourg next week.

“Some regrettable and inacceptable events have triggered a wave of indignation, (…) it seems good to us that collectively institutions reflect this debate and can contribute, with resolutions and debates, to this effort by the entire society to make equality reign supreme,” he said.

The minister also referred to the slogan “se acabó” (it’s over), which has been used by women’s rights activists to celebrate action against Rubiales, who had initially dug his heels over the kiss and claimed it was consensual and later issued an apology seen as insufficient and arrogant.

Responding to a question about Rubiales touching his genitals in the officials’ box, Iceta said that he had not discussed the RSFF president’s behavior with the royal family so far. EFE