Join us on 14 December at 12:00 CET for an online discussion on FIFA and UEFA’s responsibility in responding to the incident that overshadowed Spains’ victory of the Women's World Cup, when Spanish national team player Jennifer Hermoso experienced a violation of her bodily integrity and physical autonomy due to a forced kiss given to her by Luis Rubiales, then the Spanish FA's president.
During the 2023/2024 academic year, the Asser International Sports Law Centre dedicates special attention to the intersection between transnational sports law and governance and gender. This online discussion is the second in a series of (online and offline) events, which explore the way in which international sports governing bodies define the gender divide in international sports, police gender-based abuses, and secure gender-specific rights to athletes. You can watch the recording of our first virtual discussion on the Semenya judgment of the ECtHR on our Youtube Channel.
Just minutes after the Spanish women's national team had won the FIFA Women's World Cup, Rubiales congratulated the players on the podium and grabbed Hermoso's head and kissed her on the lips. This act not only shocked the players and the audience but also caused immediate international uproar and calls for resignation. Rubiales first defended his act, claiming that Hermoso had agreed to it. However, her statements right after it happened, as well as her official statement published just a few days after the event forcefully denied the consensual nature of the kiss. Hermoso felt “vulnerable and a victim of aggression, an impulsive act, sexist, out of place and without any type of consent". Three months later, Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA for three years, resigned as president of the Spanish FA, and is facing criminal prosecution for the crimes of sexual assault and coercion in Spanish national courts.
As extreme as this case sounds, it is not. In fact, it is a reflection of structural issues that exist in the world of women's football and women's sport more generally. Furthermore, this incident raises the question of the rights of the players subjected to such behaviour and the responsibility of sports governing bodies, and FIFA and UEFA in particular, insanctioning those who are engaging in such actions. How should SGBs respond to such incidents? What type of rules and procedures should they have in place? What are the measures that should be introduced to prevent similar actions in the future? What is the role of states (the Spanish state in the present instance) in investigating and prosecuting these cases?
We look forward to discussing these issues (and many others) with our three speakers, who have followed the case closely:
Kat Craig, human rights lawyer, founder and CEO of Athlead, Senior Adviser to the Centre for Sport and Human Rights;
Alexandra Gómez Bruinewoud, is a Senior Legal Counsel at FIFPRO and a judge at the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber;
- Borja Garcia is Reader in Sport Policy and Governance at School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences in Loughborough University
The online discussion will be introduced and moderated by Dr Antoine Duval and Dr Daniela Heerdt, and will include short presentations by the speakers and a Q&A with the audience.
This is a free event, you can register for it HERE