Aitana Bonmatti: Spain star calls for ‘abuse of power’ while FIFA president Infantino says World Cup celebrations ‘spoiled’


Spanish star Aitana Bonmati used her speech during the UEFA Women’s Player of the Year awards ceremony to talk about the “abuse of power” after an unwanted kiss from a senior official, as the FIFA president said the team World Cup winner The festivities were “spoiled” by controversy.

Spain’s World Cup victory was overshadowed by the storm surrounding the president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales After he forcibly kissed attacker Jenny Hermoso during celebrations on August 20.

“We just won the World Cup, but no one talks about it much because things happened that I wish hadn’t happened,” Bonmati said Thursday at the awards ceremony in Monaco.

“I would like to talk a little bit about what happened. I believe that as a society we should not allow abuse of power in a working relationship, let alone disrespect. So, from my teammate Jenny to all the women who are going through the same problem, we are with you.

“I hope we will continue to work to improve society.”

Aitana Bonmati won the Golden Ball for best player at the Women's World Cup.

Midfielder Bonmati was honored by UEFA for her influential role in helping Barcelona win the Spanish title and the Champions League last season, followed by her World Cup win with Spain.

After receiving the award for UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year, England women’s coach Sarina Wiegmann dedicated her award to the Spain team that beat England 1-0 in the World Cup final.

After thanking everyone involved with the Lionesses of England, Wegman said the award “feels a bit different”.

“We all know the problems surrounding the Spanish team, and this really hurts me as a coach, as a mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a person,” Wegman added.

“The game has evolved a lot but there is still a long way to go in women’s football and in society. I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team. The team that played in the World Cup played great football that everyone enjoyed.

“This team deserves to be celebrated and deserves to be heard and I’ll give them a big ovation again and hope you’ll join me.

Sarina Wegman has been named UEFA Women's Coach of the Year.

On Thursday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino issued a statement on social media noting the ongoing controversy surrounding Rubiales.

Without elaborating, the FIFA president said what happened at the medal ceremony after Spain won the World Cup “should never have happened”.

“Unfortunately, the celebrations due to these wonderful heroes were spoiled by what happened after the final whistle. And what happened continued in the following days.”

“This should never have happened. But it did and the FIFA disciplinary bodies immediately assumed responsibility and took action. The disciplinary proceedings will continue their legitimate course.”

The International Football Association (FIFA) temporarily suspended Rubiales on Saturday.

Along with mounting pressure to step down, Rubiales also faces an investigation that could lead to sexual assault charges by Spanish prosecutors.

Earlier this week, all 19 RFEF regional presidents called on Rubiales to resign, while also giving unanimous support to interim president Pedro Rocha, who took office after Rubiales was suspended by FIFA.

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