Spain’s Prime minister calls FIFA champions an inspiration


Spain’s acting prime minister greeted the country’s FIFA Women’s World Cup champions at the presidential palace on Tuesday. “You have achieved something very important. The girls who watch you see soccer as a place where they can develop athletically and personally,” Pedro Sánchez said while posing for a group photo with the soccer team.
“The 21st century will be the century of women on all fronts, and the century of effective equality between men and women,” he added. Sánchez said the team members will be awarded Spain’s golden medal of sports achievement in honour of their victory. Players and staff landed late Monday in Madrid after a flight from Sydney, Australia, where Spain beat England 1-0 in Sunday’s final. They were greeted by thousands in the Spanish capital in a celebration that lasted until past midnight. Gender equality and women’s rights have been cornerstones of Sánchez’s leftist government.
But, Spain’s Women’s World Cup success has been marred by the forced kiss on the lips that the president Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, gave to player Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony following the final. The incident caused an international outcry and several acting ministers of Sánchez’s government have asked Rubiales for explanations. Acting Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz said Rubiales “has harassed and assaulted” a woman and called for his resignation. After claiming that those who criticized his kiss were “idiots and stupid people,” Rubiales was forced to apologize in a video on Monday. Rubiales was at the team greeting with Sánchez, who has yet to speak publicly about the incident. During the celebrations on Monday in the capital, Hermoso avoided commenting on the incident. “We’re world champions, aren’t we?” she said. “Right now, I think it’s too much.”