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Female soccer players need a ‘good man and a big penis’


Sexism, machismo, paternalism and verbal abuse seem to be at the heart of the daily lives of Spanish female soccer players for a long time.

• Read also: Forced kiss: the Spanish Federation “ask forgiveness”

• Read also: Forced kiss: Spanish sports court opens proceedings against Rubiales

Following the unconsented kiss of the president of the country’s football federation, Luis Rubiales, on the mouth of star player Jenni Hermoso during the triumph of the “Roja” at the World Cup a month ago, women decided to lift the veil on a work climate reminiscent of the era of Maurice Duplessis and the Great Darkness that hovered over Quebec in the 1940s and 1950s.

Here are some eloquent and shocking examples that emerged from an investigation by the New York Times released on Wednesday, the same day Spanish prosecutors announced that Hermoso had filed a lawsuit against Rubiales, opening the door to possible sexual assault charges.

A woman’s place is at home with the children

When Beatriz Alvarez landed the job of president of the Spanish Women’s Soccer League last summer, she requested a meeting with Luis Rubiales via videoconference so she could stay home with her newborn baby. Alvarez said the country’s soccer boss refused and asked her to send someone else, adding she needed to lead by example by ‘devoting herself to (her) motherhood’.

Keep the hotel room door ajar

National coach Jorge Vilda, close to Rubiales, was fired on Tuesday, 17 days after lifting the World Cup in Australia. A dozen women criticized his dominating and intimidating style, with some players refusing to be directed by him. Several former and current athletes have signed a petition demanding major changes to management, as well as better working conditions. Former 2015-17 national team captain Veronica Boquette claimed Vilda wanted the players to keep their hotel room door ajar so he could check everyone was in bed. The coach also insisted on keeping an eye on his proteges at all times, to watch their body language and find out who was complaining about him. According to Boquette, Vilda notably decided where the captains sat during meals. “He wanted to control everything,” she observed.

Jorge Vilda is no longer the coach of the Spanish women’s soccer team.

Photo: AFP

“A good man and a big penis”

Over the decades, the men who have ruled soccer in Spain have often claimed to know the desires of women. Veronica Boquette also reminded the New York daily that the predecessor of Rubiales, who refuses to resign despite a 90-day suspension from the International Federation – the time of the investigations – had launched a murderous sentence at the players. “What you really need is a good man and a big penis,” said Ignacio Quereda.

Female soccer players need a ‘good man and a big penis’

Ignacio Quereda coached Spain at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He is seen here in a match against Brazil at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Photo: AFP

“I know what women want”

The former president for integrity of the Spanish Soccer Federation, Ana Munoz, told the New York Times that instead of rewarding players with cash bonuses following a competition, Rubiales gave them electronic tablets. “I have daughters. I know what women want,” he dropped, according to Munoz.

“I was just there for decoration”

Moreover, Munoz had in 2019 submitted his resignation to the board of directors of the Spanish Soccer Federation, made up of 15 men and 3 women. “I was just there for the decoration. A pot of flowers”, she explained to the New York newspaper, maintaining that her requests were not heard, even when it came to corruption or fraud. “I couldn’t understand that an integrity committee doesn’t deal with integrity issues,” she added.

Comments on bras

Sexist and humiliating remarks are not new. On Christmas 1970, the house announcer at a women’s soccer game in Barcelona kept asking “is her bra broken?” when women were running in the field. The following year, the president of the Spanish Soccer Federation declared that he “wasn’t against women’s football, but (he) didn’t like it either”. “I don’t think it’s very feminine aesthetically. We do not encourage women to wear t-shirts and shorts,” continued Jose Luis Perez-Paya. Rubiales made a similar comment decades later. “They’re in their underwear,” he joked live on television when he saw the players dressed in short-sleeved shirts and shorts in training.