Bishop & Sewell

Just when Spanish football should be lauding their team’s success at the Women’s World Cup Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish football federation, is defying calls to resign over accusations that his celebratory kiss with Hermoso, a member of Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s team, happened without her consent. Hermoso and 80 other Spanish football players said late Friday that they would not play for the national team as long as “the current leaders continue,” writes David Little, a Partner in our Corporate and Commercial department who increasingly handles Sports Law cases too.

The uproar over a post-victory embrace is escalating, with Spain’s football federation threatening to take legal action over star player Jenni Hermoso’s latest statements over the incident.

The kiss’ is a reminder of many media reports shedding light on several distressing examples of sexism in soccer, exposing the inequalities that persist in both opportunity and pay between the men’s and women’s game, still.

One of the most glaring disparities in football is the enormous gap in salaries between professional men and women players. Despite the remarkable achievements and incredible talent displayed by female athletes, the wage difference remains staggering.

In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation for gender discrimination. The team argued that they earned significantly less than their male counterparts, despite their remarkable success, including winning four FIFA World Cup titles. This high-profile case highlighted the stark contrast in pay scales and sparked a global conversation on gender-based wage disparities in soccer.

Another example of sexism in football is the glaring underinvestment in women’s soccer compared to men’s. Media reports have frequently pointed out that women’s teams often lack the resources, facilities, and opportunities that their male counterparts enjoy. This imbalance not only hinders the growth of women’s soccer but also sends a discouraging message to aspiring female players. It’s essential to address these disparities and provide equal support to nurture women’s talent and develop the sport.

Sexism in the game isn’t confined to boardrooms and locker rooms; it’s also prevalent on the field. Instances of sexist behaviour during matches, including derogatory chants and insults, have been widely reported. These incidents not only tarnish the spirit of the game but also create a hostile environment for female players. The media has played a crucial role in shedding light on such incidents, urging governing bodies and fans alike to take a stand against sexism in soccer.

Addressing sexism in soccer requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including governing bodies, clubs, players, and fans. It begins with recognizing the problem and acknowledging that gender-based discrimination has no place in the sport.

Will Rubiales get the push? At the time of writing he still has the confidence of the Spanish Federation. Usually a euphemism – most often in connection to beleaguered football managers – for ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning.’


Contact our Sports Lawyer

David Little, is a Partner in the Corporate & Commercial team and also Head of Sports Law for the firm. If you would like to contact him please quote Ref CB418 on either 07968 027343 or 020 7631 4141 or email

The above is accurate as at 29 August 2023. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 29th Aug 2023

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