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The Unacceptable Behavior of the Spanish Soccer Chief at Women’s World Cup Ceremony


The Women’s World Cup 2023 was filled with remarkable and inspiring moments as teams from across the world battled for the coveted trophy. However, there was also an incident that raised eyebrows and sparked controversy at the presentation ceremony after the final between the Netherlands and the United States. The president of the Spanish football federation was caught on camera kissing a player from the Spanish national team as he handed over her medal. This act of inappropriate behavior has caused a stir in the soccer community and beyond, with many criticizing his conduct.


The Kiss

Luis Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, kissed the player, Amanda Sampedro, on the cheek as he gave her the bronze medal. Unfortunately, his kiss lingered longer than expected, making it uncomfortable for Sampedro and triggering her reaction. She could be seen wiping off the kiss as she continued to walk by. The incident was watched by millions worldwide, leading to various reactions and opinions about the matter.

Spanish soccer leader gets angry reaction for kissing player on mouth

The Reaction

Many people, including women’s rights advocates and soccer fans, responded to the incident on social media, calling out Rubiales for his behavior. They argued that such an incident was unacceptable and should not have occurred in the first place. Many believed that the incident was not merely an innocent gesture, and the president had taken advantage of his position and power to make an unwanted move.

The Response

After the incident, Rubiales faced backlash and had to apologize publicly for his actions. He also expressed regret for the discomfort he caused Sampedro, who was his friend. He explained that his behavior was spontaneous and unintended, describing it as a mistake. Rubiales maintained that he had no malicious intentions, and he meant no disrespect to the player or women in general.


Luis Rubiales: Spain's acting prime minister criticizes federation head for  kissing player from World Cup champs - Times of India

The Impact

The incident highlights the broader issue of sexism in sports, particularly in soccer. For a long time, women in sports have faced discrimination, abuse, and unequal treatment from their male counterparts. The incident has sparked a conversation about the need for better gender equality in sports, not just in terms of pay but for respect as well. It also pointed to how athletes should be treated and protected, especially from unwanted gestures, regardless of gender or status.


The Spanish Soccer Chief’s actions at the Women’s World Cup 2019 was an unprofessional gesture that demonstrates the need for gender equality in sports. The incident was a stark reminder that sports should be more respectful to the athletes who participate and how they are perceived by others. Rubiales’ act of kissing a player without her consent was an unacceptable move that showed that work still needs to be done to ensure athletes’ safety and respect. The incident sparked a conversation about sexism in sports, sending a message that such behavior will not be tolerated. Sports should serve as an avenue where we can celebrate diversity, gender, and culture, and as such, we must ensure that sports reflect the values of equality and respect.