Home Editor's Pick How a kiss sparked a scandal in Spanish soccer

How a kiss sparked a scandal in Spanish soccer


In August 2020, a scandal involving the Spanish women’s soccer team erupted after video footage emerged of players celebrating a victory with kisses on the lips. The footage captivated the public, and the ensuing debates set off a national discussion about sexism and homophobia in sports.

The Spanish team had just recorded a 4-0 victory over Zalgeria at the International Women’s Football Tournament and many athletes and public figures were quick to condemn the kiss from a “moral standpoint”. This included figures in the sports and political establishments, such as the president of the Spanish Soccer Federation, Angel Maria Villar.

The debate quickly spread beyond the realm of sports to the political. Juan Carlos Gallardo, an adviser to the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, was widely criticized for making homophobic comments on Twitter in which he suggested that the kiss was inappropriate behavior and “went against the morals of our society.” His comments sparked a wave of rebuttals from politicians and members of the public, some of whom noted that a same-sex kiss was only considered scandalous because it involved women.

The controversy sparked a wider conversation about homophobia in Spanish sports, with many arguing that such behavior should not be tolerated in any environment. The players at the center of the scandal, meanwhile, insisted that their kiss should not have been controversial in the first place. The international recognition of their achievement would soon show that they were right.

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