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WOMEN'S FOOTBALL

Spain’s soccer chief apologises for World Cup kiss

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FIFA Women's World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Final - Spain v England - Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia - August 20, 2023 Spain's Jennifer Hermoso celebrates with President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales after the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

                                                 Summary

  • Federation chief kissed player on lips during medal hand-out
  • Hermoso heard on video saying she ‘didn’t like it’
  • Both player and president later downplayed incident

 

The Spanish soccer federation chief apologised on Monday after an unsolicited kiss on player Jenni Hermoso’s lips during celebrations of the country’s Women’s World Cup victory sparked outrage, with Spain’s second deputy prime minister calling for his resignation.

The incident happened as federation president Luis Rubiales handed the Spanish team gold medals after they beat England 1-0 in the final on Sunday.

“Surely I was wrong, I have to admit,” Rubiales said in a video statement sent by the federation. “It was without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness.”

As the team landed in Madrid on Monday night after their victory in Australia, Rubiales declined to reply to a question about the incident, telling Reuters: “It is time to enjoy and celebrate. We have won a world cup”.

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After the kiss, Hermoso told teammates in the locker room that she “didn’t like it,” according to video footage posted on Instagram and YouTube by El Mundo newspaper and other media outlets.

She later downplayed the incident in a statement sent to Spanish news agency EFE by the federation.

“It was a mutual gesture that was totally spontaneous prompted by the huge joy of winning a World Cup,” the statement said. “The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has always been 10 (out of 10) and this was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”

Post-game video footage also depicts Rubiales kissing other players on the cheek or embracing them when handing out the medals.

Standing besides Spain’s Queen Letizia and one of her teenage daughters on the stadium’s seats, Rubiales enthusiastically celebrated the victory, including by grabbing his crotch while pointing to the field.

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Gender issues are a powerful topic in Spain. The Socialist-led government has presided over a raft of legal reforms around gender change, abortion and sex work, but a loophole in its law around sexual consent let rapists out of jail, resulting in a significant electoral loss by far-left Podemos party, in the government coalition, in July’s election.

Asked again about the incident on Spain’s COPE Radio station, Hermoso said: “I wish they created (controversy) involving someone else, I’m a world champion and that’s what matters.”

‘UNACCEPTABLE’

Several government ministers and media commentators criticised the gesture.

Acting Second Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz, whose Sumar political platform includes Podemos, called for Rubiales’ resignation because “without any doubt (he) attacked a woman”, arguing that “his excuses do not work at all”.

Acting Culture and Sports Minister Miquel Iceta said on RNE radio the kiss was “unacceptable” and asked Rubiales to provide an explanation and to apologise.

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A non-consensual kiss is “a kind of sex violence all women suffer daily, which was until now invisible, and which we cannot normalise”, acting Gender Equality Minister Irene Montero said on social messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

An opinion column in Spain’s top-selling El Pais newspaper on Monday morning was titled: “Jenni didn’t like the kiss and we didn’t either” – describing it as “an intrusion, an invasion of privacy, an aggression”.

Rubiales had initially minimized the outrage, calling critics “idiots”.

“The kiss with Jenni? There are idiots everywhere. When two people have a moment of affection that means nothing more, you can’t listen to idiocy. We are the champions, that’s it,” he said, according to Radio Marca.

But in his apology later on Monday, Rubiales included those who called him out.

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“I also want to apologize to these persons,” he said.

-Reuters

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Two Nigerian women’s clubs get financial boost from FIFA

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Following the record-setting FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, 1,041 clubs from 48 FIFA Member Associations across all six confederations are to receive a share of the revenue for the release of players who participated in the tournament.

Going by the final list of players submitted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to the tournament, two domestic club sides, Abia Angels and Rivers Angels will profit from the $11 million largess.

The funds have been made available via FIFA’s Club Benefits Programme (CBP), which was introduced ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 to recognise the fundamental role that clubs play in developing players. The total amount committed to clubs that released and/or trained the stars of women’s football rose to USD 11.3m for the 2023 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ from USD 8.48m four years earlier.

Nearly two million fans at the tournament’s ten stadiums – and two billion following around the world – witnessed a new standard of women’s football at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, and now the clubs that played integral roles in shaping the talents of all 736 players at the tournament are to be rewarded.

“Strong clubs are crucial to the growth of women’s football, so distributing funding to over 1,000 clubs that have been instrumental in developing the world’s top female footballers is just one way that FIFA can offer its support,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino yesterday.

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“What’s truly unique about this programme is that FIFA does not only reward the clubs that released the players for the tournament but also the clubs that have contributed to each player’s development between the ages of 12 and 22.

This development also means that most of the players who began their careers in Nigeria before their sojourn overseas will benefit from the gesture from the world football body.

“This model ensures that crucial funding as well as the incentive for clubs to provide the best possible training and environment for female talent – reaches every part of the global football ecosystem, benefiting grassroots and professional clubs.”

The number of clubs that were identified by FIFA as eligible to receive payments via the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 CBP increased by 219 clubs from 822 in 2019 to 1,041 in 2023. Positively, the number of clubs across FIFA’s Member Associations also increased from 39 in 2019 to 48 in 2023.

Each club’s share has been determined by the role that they played in a player’s development or participation in the tournament, either as a releasing club, a training club, or both.

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Each eligible releasing club will receive an equal amount per player per day at the tournament, counting from the beginning of the release period (10 July 2023) and finishing the day following the last match of the player’s national team at the tournament.

Each training club will receive an amount based on the number of training periods the player spent at the club between ages 12 and 22, with each year consisting of a maximum of two training periods. The number of days that the player spent at the tournament is also factored in, however, the number of minutes played by a player in any given match at the tournament is irrelevant, with all players treated equally based on the number of days that they were at the tournament.

In the 1,043 clubs, UEFA dominated in numbers with 581 Asia Federation was next with 151 clubs while CONCACAF was next with 108  just as COMEBOL followed with 95 and then CAF with 76 clubs and Oceania Federation took the rear with just 30 clubs.

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CAF Women’s Champions League Qualifiers draw holds on Wednesday

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The 2024-2025 women’s interclub football season will officially kick off on Wednesday, 24 July, with the draw for the CAF Women’s Champions League qualifiers in 4 zones: UNAF, UNIFFAC, WAFU B and CECAFA.

The draw will be conducted at 10:00 GMTat the CAF Headquarters in Egypt and live-streamed on CAF TV and CAFOnline.com. 

Below are the teams entered by zone and the dates of the qualifying tournaments:

WAFU B (10 – 23 August): Ainonvi FC (Benin), Hasaacas Ladies (Ghana), Inter d’Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), AO Étincelles OU USFA (Burkina Faso), AS Garde Nationale (Niger), Edo Queens (Nigeria), ASKO de Kara (Togo).

UNAF (21 – 31 August): CF Akbou (Algeria), Tutankhamun (Egypt), AS Far (Morocco), ASF Sousse (Tunisia)

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CECAFA (17 August – 4 September): PVP Buyenzi (Burundi), FAD (Djibouti), CBE FC (Ethiopia), Kenya Police Bullets (Kenya), Kawempe Muslim (Uganda), Rayon Sports (Rwanda), Yei Joint Stars (South Sudan), Simba Queens (Tanzania), Warriors Queens (Zanzibar)

UNIFFAC (16 – 24 August): Lekié FF (Cameroon), TP Mazembe (DR Congo), Atlético de Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), CSM Diables Noirs (Congo)

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Colombia 2024: Danjuma invites 32 as countdown begins to Final Tournament

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Flying Eagles, Falconets To Resume Camp On Thursday -

With just eight weeks to their first match of the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup Colombia 2024, Head Coach Chris Musa Danjuma has called up four goalkeepers, eight defenders, eight midfielders and 12 strikers to a training camp in the Federal Capital, Abuja in the first phase of preparation for the global tournament.

Team captain Oluchi Ohaegbulem is top of the list, with first-choice goalkeeper Faith Omilana, defenders Shukurat Oladipo and Comfort Folorunsho, midfielders Chinyere Kalu, Adoo Yina and Rofiat Imuran, and forwards Janet Akekoromowei, Flourish Sabastine and Aminat Bello also called.

Nigeria, a fixture at the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals since the tournament began as an U19 event in Canada 22 years ago, will contend with three-time winners Germany, Asian powerhouse Korea Republic and South American representatives Venezuela in group D of the competition scheduled for three Colombian cities, 31st August – 22nd September.

All the invited are expected at Serob Legacy Hotel, Wuye, Abuja on Sunday, 7th July.

ALL THE INVITED PLAYERS:

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Goalkeepers: Anderline Mgbechi (Delta Queens); Rachael Unachukwu (Nasarawa Amazons); Faith Omilana (Naija Ratels); Shukura Bakare (Nasarawa Amazons)

Defenders: Oluchi Ohaegbulem (Nasarawa Amazons); Jumoke Alani (Nasarawa Amazons); Shukurat Oladipo (FC Robo Queens); Oluwabunmi Oladeji (Naija Ratels); Folashade Adegbemile (Delta Queens); Chidera Okenwa (Delta Queens); Comfort Folorunsho (Edo Queens); Taiwo Lawal

Midfielders: Adoo Yina (Nasarawa Amazons); Olushola Shobowale (Nasarawa Amazons); Aminat Folorunsho (Rivers Angels); Chioma Olise (Edo Queens); Chinyere Kalu (Nasarawa Amazons); Joy Igbokwe (Naija Ratels); Rofiat Imuran (Stade de Reims, France); Zikora Agama (Naija Ratels)

Forwards: Delight Nwosu (Dannaz Ladies); Adaobi Okah (Remo Stars Ladies); Chiamaka Okwuchukwu (Rivers Angels); Chinaza Agoh (Delta Queens); Mary Nkpa (Heartland Queens); Chiamaka Osigwe (Edo Queens); Janet Akekoromowei (Asisat Academy); Mary Offor (Adamawa Queens); Flourish Sabastine (Stade de Reims, France); Sharon Ulumma (Heartland Queens); Aminat Bello (Otero College, USA); Reilly Adebowale (Bohemian FC, Republic of Ireland)   

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