‘Woman of the Year’ Jenni Hermoso fights on in ‘forced kiss’ scandal

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Jenni Hermoso Spain football

Spain’s forward Jenni Hermoso attends a training session at the Ciudad del Futbol training facilities in Las Rozas de Madrid on October 23, 2023, as part of the team’s preparation for their upcoming UEFA Women’s Nations League football matches against Italy and Switzerland. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Jenni Hermoso, who shot to worldwide attention after a forced kiss marred the Spanish World Cup triumph, has been voted Woman of the Year by GQ’s Spanish edition and spoken of her hopes to leave a lasting legacy.

Last week FIFA banned former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales for three years over the kiss and his refusal to accept he had done anything wrong.

Hermoso admitted to GQ she had faced intense pressure in the time since August 20 when Rubiales took her head in his hands and planted a kiss on her mouth before the presentation of the World Cup trophy in Sydney.

“I want to be remembered as both someone who lifted Spain higher and someone who changed attitudes,” she said.

“There were consequences, I received threats and I neither asked for this (kiss) nor initiated it.”

Rubiales has repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual.

The kiss has had widespread ramifications in Spain, leading to a shakeup of the management of the women’s team and sparking demonstrations by feminist and student groups.

“Many of us have become aware of what the word ‘feminism’ really means. We, as women footballers, have experienced the fight for equality up close.

“We were called capricious. People said we wanted to be paid like the boys, but that wasn’t true.”

The top scorer in the history of the Spanish women’s team says she is “very angry” at those who point out that women’s football “does not generate as much income as men’s football.”

“We know,” she said. “And we are not asking for the same as them, all we want is some basic essentials like a minimum wage.

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“And if I have to keep fighting to change things, then I will,” the 33-year-old added.

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