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Sweden captain calls Spain soccer chief’s kiss ‘horrible and unacceptable’

(Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Sweden captain Caroline Seger decried the Spain soccer federation president for kissing star player Jenni Hermoso in the aftermath of La Roja’s World Cup win.

“Horrible and unacceptable,” Seger said.

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), kissed Hermoso on the lips as the team celebrated its World Cup title. Rubiales later apologized, while Hermoso downplayed the incident, calling it “a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”

Seger, though, took issue with Rubiales’ actions, as Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported. The 38-year-old midfielder won the third-place match with Sweden one day before the tournament final on Aug. 20, then watched with the rest of the world as Spain defeated England, 1-0, to take the title.

“I can’t understand how it can happen, and to me it feels really weird,” said Seger, according to a translation. “I want the whole world to react and I want something to happen because it’s clear that there are problems in RFEF. If people think it’s not wrong, it’s just not acceptable!”

Irene Montero, Spain’s national minister for equality, also condemned the kiss, calling it “a form of sexual violence.” San Diego Wave coach Casey Stoney criticized Rubiales as well, asking in a social media post: “Would he kiss a male player like this? This is NOT ok.”

The controversy comes against the backdrop of turmoil within the Spanish federation. Head coach Jorge Vilda selected only three of 15 players for the World Cup team who had expressed concerns with his leadership in a written letter to RFEF.