Luis Rubiales appeared this Friday morning at the RFEF Assembly to say that he is not resigning, that in Spain the problem is the lack of freedom, that he has already apologized and that the kiss he gave Jenni Hermoso after the final of the World Cup was “a spoiled peak”. Which she denied: she also said that she hadn’t liked him. The silence of clubs -not all- was broken, of players from the national team who filled the X network with messages of support for Hermoso with the hashtag #seacabó. The condemnation of the words of Luis Rubiales – that he spoke of “false feminism” and announced legal measures against Irene Montero and the vice president and leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz -, has been, this time, unanimous. But there is a voice that remains unheard, that of the numerous sponsors of the Spanish Football Federation.
Iberia has published a statement this afternoon. The airline with which the national team flew and returned from the World Cup in Australia -flight in which Rubiales, by the way, tried, according to Relevo, to convince Jenni Hermoso to go out with him in a video- is one of the main sponsors of the RFEF. “Iberia has always supported and will continue to support Spanish talent, sport and football, which is our role as sponsors, among others, of the RFEF. In any case, when offensive situations occur, inappropriate for a developed, modern and egalitarian society such as the Spanish one, Iberia supports the appropriate and pertinent measures that must be taken to preserve the rights and dignity of athletes”, reads in the statement. Asked what measures they are going to take, an official spokesman answers: “We are not going to take them, we will support those who take them, be it the Government or the Federation.”
Iberia has always supported and will continue to support Spanish talent, sport and football, which is our role as sponsors, among others, of the @RFEF. In any case, when offensive situations occur, inappropriate for a developed, modern and egalitarian society…
— Iberia (@Iberia) August 25, 2023
This newspaper tried this Friday at noon to contact Iberdrola (main sponsor of the Spanish women’s soccer team that has also been firmly committed to and investing heavily in soccer and women’s sports for years), to ask about the damage caused by image and in case they consider breaking their relationship, but it was sent to a corporate email. At 8:30 p.m., the company issued a statement to the EFE agency in which it assured that “any attitude that deviates from or goes against the defense of equal rights and the dignity of women has no place in the world of sport or in society.
Adidas, another of the brands sponsored by the RFEF and which appears on its website as a technical sponsor, also sent this newspaper to a corporate email, from which no response was received. The other official sponsors are, in addition to Iberia, Halcon Viajes, Cervezas Victorias and TCL. Some have been “caught on the beach”, others clarify that they are technical providers, who supply “all the personnel and equipment” of the Federation or who provide technical services, “but to players”. Most throw balls out, arguing that they were waiting to see how the situation developed and hide behind the fact that it is in the hands of the Government.
3DFACTORY is listed as “main sponsoring partner”. There are also other sponsors defined as “collaborators” are: Sanitas, SEUR, Alimentos España, Multiópticas, ElPulpo, Sierra Cazorla, Artero, APK, Marcos Automoción, WIMU, TetraPak and RENFE. An official RENFE spokesman explained the following to this newspaper: “We only have advertising sponsorship (we buy advertising media at meetings held in Spain). It is time for the CSD and its performance, which we strongly support”. Sanitas, also through an official spokesperson, points out more or less the same thing: “We are the official medical provider for the women’s, men’s and under-21 teams. Ours is a service for the players, we take care of their health in matches and concentrations, not the Federation”.
A person with a long history of sports sponsorship negotiations in the Spanish sports elite and who prefers to remain anonymous says that it is normal for sponsors not to speak. He is also convinced that they are not going to do it officially, at least until they sit down to take stock. “They are not going to get involved because they are not interested. They prefer to stay on the sidelines: what a sponsor wants is calm and to highlight the positive of the sport and its values, not the noise that is around them ”. And he adds: “It’s not like tennis, where there are sponsors, for example, who withdraw their support immediately or break contracts with players who don’t behave well on the court. In team sports it is different, the contracts are with the RFEF, not with Rubiales. Now, if they wanted to speak off the record, they would say that they are trilling and that what is happening is a great discredit to them ”.
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