Moments after Spain won the Women’s World Cup, the man who leads the country’s national soccer federation took some unwanted attention away from the celebrating players.
Criticism from the Spanish government and the soccer world rained down Monday on Luis Rubiales for his inappropriate conduct while revelling in Spain’s 1-0 win over England in Sunday’s final in Sydney, Australia.
By grabbing his crotch in a victory gesture — seemingly oblivious to 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofia standing nearby — and then kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal and trophy ceremony on the field, Rubiales’s behaviour marred the biggest day for women’s soccer.
The kiss was “deeply lamentable,” world players’ union FIFPRO said. The 45-year-old Rubiales led the union’s Spanish affiliate for eight years before being elected to lead the national soccer federation in 2018.
In Spain, acting minister for sports and culture Miquel Iceta told public broadcaster RNE “it is unacceptable to kiss a player on the lips to congratulate her.”
A stronger reaction came from Spanish government equality minister Irene Montero.
“It is a form of sexual violence that women suffer on a daily basis, and which has been invisible so far, and which we should not normalize,” Montero wrote Sunday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The kiss was shocking given the sport’s long-standing allegations of sexual misconduct by male soccer presidents and coaches against female players in national teams. Two of the 32 World Cup teams, Haiti and Zambia, had to deal with the issue while qualifying for the tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The Spain squad also was in near-mutiny last year on a separate issue because of some players’ complaints about the culture under coach Jorge Vilda.
After the game, when Hermoso passed along the line of soccer dignitaries to collect her medal, Rubiales put his hands to her head and kissed her on the lips. He also hugged several other players and put his arm around Queen Letizia of Spain.
In an Instagram video in the dressing room after the incident, the players screamed and laughed while watching the kiss being replayed on a phone.
Hermoso can be seen laughing and shouting, “But I didn’t like it!” Asked by other players what she was doing, she shouted, “Look at me, look at me,” intimating she couldn’t do much about it.
Late Sunday, the Spanish soccer federation released a statement on behalf of Hermoso to try to settle the controversy.
“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup,” Hermoso said in the federation’s statement. “The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been excellent and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”
FIFPRO, which is based in the Netherlands, took a different view.
“It is deeply lamentable that such a special moment for the players of the Spain national team that was taking place before a global television audience should be stained by the inappropriate conduct of an individual in a role carrying so much responsibility,” FIFPRO said in a statement.
“Uninitiated and uninvited physical gestures towards players are not appropriate or acceptable in any context. This is especially true when players are put in a position of vulnerability because a physical approach or gesture is initiated by a person who holds power over them.”
Rubiales also is a UEFA vice president and was the European soccer body’s most senior elected representative at the final in Australia.
Video clips filmed after the final whistle of Sunday’s match show Rubiales celebrating the victory in the front row of an exclusive section near the queen of Spain and FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Rubiales jumped with both arms in the air, pointing with both index fingers toward the field, then briefly grabbed his crotch with his right hand.
The former player has a key role in wooing soccer officials over the next year while trying to secure hosting rights for the men’s World Cup in 2030. Spain leads a joint bid with Portugal, Morocco and, currently, Ukraine for the 48-team tournament and is favoured to win next year’s decision.
UEFA and FIFA did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment about Rubiales’s conduct.
Dunbar reported from Geneva.
Associated Press reporter Ciaran Giles contributed to this report.
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
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Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks
A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.
Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.
Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.
In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.
The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.
DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.
DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.
In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.
DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.
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