Suspense Making history It’s not supposed to sour. It is the moment, this once-in-a-lifetime feat, that should cause time to stop; Cameras pan in slow motion towards high achievers lifting up their award, duct tape falling like magic from the sky, and extraordinary talent overshadowing everything else. But this is not the world we live in.
Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time last month, and just two weeks later, no one is talking about that success.
The talented but young team was never meant to challenge the sport’s heavyweights, mainly because many of the country’s best players stayed home after refusing a year ago to play for their country until standards within the national team improved.
Even immediately after the win, thoughts drifted towards the players who missed the game. but this It’s time for wild celebrations to achieve victory in spite of everything. However, it was all short-lived.
And in that limited but exciting period of time, Spain’s players were free to lose themselves in the triumph of their lives. Until the medal ceremony, at least. Then came the kiss, the moment that eclipsed and became the momentIt overshadows football and Spanish society, capturing the world’s attention and highlighting approval, power and entitlement.
However, in their search for some light in the dark, Spanish women are now receiving the world’s attention. Because of what happened, and where it happened, their voices are louder now than they were last September when 15 players wrote to the Spanish Football Federation demanding sweeping changes throughout the coaching staff.
They are being listened to. wrote about it, talked about it, to thank by the country’s prime minister. “The next Spain is feminist. Like it or not,” he posted on social media on Saturday. “Make this a turning point,” A. said. Social media sharing from the United Nations Human Rights Office earlier in the week.
Female players past and present are heard. The decades-old battle for equality in women’s football and society still has a long way to go, but nothing is changing in silence. When there is discussion, when there is anger, there is opportunity for progress. The battle has more allies, maybe just got a little easier.
But in front of a global audience, a powerful man acted inappropriately, and yet he remained in office. Despite all the discussions, despite all the ever-changing developments, the eye of this storm will not pass because one thing has remained constant: the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, has refused to give up.
A lot has happened in the past two weeks since Spain beat England under the lights in Sydney. When will it end? from where we start? Let’s start from the beginning, when Rubiales placed both hands on superstar Jenny Hermoso’s head and kissed her on the lips after she collected her winners’ medal? Or let’s quickly jump into the fact that the world champions are due to play later this month but don’t have star players they’d like to don the colors of the national team?
Pictures and footage of Rubiales kissing Hermoso have now been seen by millions and broadcast on news around the world; Create headlines, stir up protests.
There was a confession from Rubiales one day after the final mistake, And again on Friday he said he had made “some obvious mistakes” to end his 30-minute defiant speech last week, in which he repeatedly refused to quit, despite expectations, and was applauded by some in the audience.
He says the kiss was consensual, a claim Hermoso vehemently rejects, with the player calling it “impulsive, sexist and out of place without any consent on my part”.
It is a story that had daily, sometimes hourly developments. Since Rubiales’ speech last week, FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, has done just that hanging The 46-year-old was banned from participating in football-related activities for 90 days, a decision announced less than 24 hours after the RFEF threatened. Legal action against Hermoso and others, escalating the crisis into a public relations disaster for the federation.
Over the course of the weekend, Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning side refused to play for the national team until Rubiales was sacked, and 11 members of the Spanish women’s national football program jointly announced their resignations.
There were also surreal elements – this week Rubiales’ mother went on a hunger strike to support her son and was briefly hospitalized. But beyond the headlines, this is a story that symbolizes the problems within women’s football and society, of not respecting or listening to women.
“We all want the same thing, right? There is respect for our profession, the same as it was years ago, and it still is for men,” Alexia Botelas, Spain’s two-time Ballon d’Or winner, said in a TV interview with TUDN.
The Spanish government is trying to dismiss Rubiales, and all 19 regional presidents of the Spanish Confederation have called on him to resign, but he has not done so.
Meanwhile, the achievements of the athletes – world champions – have been overshadowed by a stream of controversy that was not of their making.
“We just won the World Cup but no one talks about it much because things have happened that I wish would not have happened,” Aitana Bonmati said after receiving the award for UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
On August 20, Spain beat England 1-0 to wrap up a World Cup tournament that set new records for global viewing figures, showcasing the best of a sport that succeeds despite entrenched obstacles rooted in sexism, inequality and lack of education. of opportunity in this male-dominated game.
Two countries that have banned women from playing soccer are competing in the final. In Sydney that Sunday night, first-time finalists England and Spain not only symbolized a shift in the global order of women’s football, but also that the world had changed for the better.
But those seconds on the catwalk were a reminder, if needed, that much remains unchanged. Problems exist, even when they cannot be seen, even if they are not mentioned in national newspapers or made in the international news.
There are a lot of battles going on around the world within the women’s game. After failing to reach an agreement with La Liga, the women’s soccer league, on better conditions and wages, the unions representing the players have called for a strike on Friday during the first two matches of the season.
The dismissal or resignation of Rubiales will not solve all the problems the players face, but there is at least some positive from the solidarity shown in the past few weeks.
“Football must respond and rise to this defining moment, not only in Spain, but all over the world”, read the message published by the world players’ union FIFPRO on its website. social media accounts on saturday.
Last weekend, many football teams showed their abilities supports For Hermoso, some wore bracelets or held up banners. Even Jorge Vilda, the Spain coach, whose position is said to be under threat, has condemned Rubiales’ behaviour. With each passing day, Rubiales seems an increasingly isolated figure.
England women’s coach Sarina Wegman presented the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award to Spain. “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 said.
“It’s over,” Botelas, the World Cup winner, said in response to Rubiales’ speech last week. It may also be a new beginning.