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Spain’s soccer chief apologises for kissing World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso

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The Spanish soccer federation president apologised on Monday after an unsolicited kiss he planted on player Jenni Hermoso’s lips during celebrations of the country’s Women’s World Cup victory sparked outrage in Spain.

The incident happened as federation chief Luis Rubiales handed the Spanish team gold medals after they beat England 1-0 in the final on Sunday.

“Surely I was wrong, I have to admit,” Rubiales said in a video statement sent by the federation. “It was without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness.”

Hermoso told teammates afterwards in the locker room that she “didn’t like it,” according to video footage posted on Instagram and YouTube by El Mundo newspaper and other media outlets.

She later downplayed the incident in a statement sent to Spanish news agency EFE by the federation.

“It was a mutual gesture that was totally spontaneous prompted by the huge joy of winning a World Cup,” the statement said. “The ‘presi’ and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has always been 10 (out of 10) and this was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”

Post-game video footage also depicts Rubiales kissing other players on the cheek or embracing them when handing out the medals.

Gender issues are a powerful topic in Spain. The Socialist-led government has presided over a raft of legal reforms around gender change, abortion and sex work, but a loophole in its law around sexual consent let rapists out of jail, resulting in a significant electoral loss by Montero’s far-left Podemos party, in the government coalition, in July’s election.

Asked again about the incident on Spain’s COPE Radio station, Hermoso said: “I wish they created (controversy) involving someone else, I’m a world champion and that’s what matters.”

‘Unacceptable’
Several government ministers and media commentators criticised the gesture.

Acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta said on RNE radio the kiss was “unacceptable” and asked Rubiales to provide an explanation and to apologise.

A non-consensual kiss is “a kind of sex violence all women suffer daily, which was until now invisible, and which we cannot normalise”, acting gender equality minister Irene Montero said on as Twitter.

Acting social rights minister Ione Belarra, who belongs to Montero’s party, asked “if they do that with all of Spain watching, what might they do privately?”

An opinion column in Spain’s top-selling El Pais newspaper on Monday morning was titled: “Jenni didn’t like the kiss and we didn’t either” – describing it as “an intrusion, an invasion of privacy, an aggression”.

Rubiales had initially minimised the outrage, calling critics “idiots”.

“The kiss with Jenni? There are idiots everywhere. When two people have a moment of affection that means nothing more, you can’t listen to idiocy. We are the champions, that’s it,” he said, according to Radio Marca.

But in his apology later on Monday, Rubiales included those who called him out.

“I also want to apologise to these persons,” he said.

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Nigerian League

Sporting Lagos to appoint Biffo as new head coach

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Sporting Lagos are set to appoint Abdullahi Biffo as their new head coach. Biffo will take charge from Paul Offor who was sacked on Wednesday night.

Sporting Lagos are set to appoint Abdullahi Biffo as their new head coach.

Biffo will take charge from Paul Offor who was sacked on Wednesday night.

The experienced tactician has managed a number of top sides in the Nigeria Premier Football League.

He once managed Kwara United, Katsina United and Niger Tornadoes in the top-flight.

The gaffer is expected to help improve the fortune of the modest side.

Sporting Lagos have moved to 11th position on the table following an improved performance in the second half of the season.

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Nigerian League

Sporting Lagos sack head coach Paul Offor

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Nigeria Premier Football League side, Sporting Lagos have parted ways with head coach Paul Offor. Offor was sacked

Nigeria Premier Football League side, Sporting Lagos have parted ways with head coach Paul Offor.

Offor was sacked following his side’s struggles in the NPFL.

The tactician’s departure was confirmed on the club’s X handle.

The statement reads “Sporting Lagos announces the departure of head Coach Paul Offor,”

“Coach Paul brought top-flight football back to our city and gave us the first piece of silverware in our history.

“Thank you for everything, coach Paul. We wish you the very best in your future endeavours.”

Sporting Lagos have penciled down former Kwara United coach Abdullahi Biffo as his possible replacement.

They occupy 11th position on the NPFL table with 38 points.

Sporting Lagos have recorded 10 wins, eight draws and 12 defeats in the current campaign.

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Nigerian League

Saviour relishes Rangers’ derby victory over Abia Warriors

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Rangers midfielder Isaac Saviour has expressed his excitement after scoring in the club’s oriental derby win against Abia Warriors.

Rangers midfielder Isaac Saviour has expressed his excitement after scoring in the club’s oriental derby win against Abia Warriors.

Saviour opened scoring for the Flying Antelopes in their 3-2 win at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Tuesday.

Kazeem Ogunleye and Chidozie Okorie were also on target for Rangers.

He revealed his plans to maintain his impressive performance for Rangers in subsequent games.

Saviour has netted three times in this campaign.

“I feel very excited,” he stated to the club’s media.

“I think that for some time I was out injured and coming back and got a chance to start a game and score against Katsina, I had it in mind that I had to continue scoring if at all, I wanted to make an instant impact in my team.

“I am very happy scoring against Abia Warriors after scoring in Katsina and I hope it goes on like that.

“It is always a joy to be selected as the man of the match and I feel excited and hopefully, more will come.”

Saviour will hope to add to his goal tally when Rangers battle Rivers United in their next league match this weekend.

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