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Luis Rubiales: Focus on Jenni Hermoso kiss is 'disappointing', says Spain's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Catalina Coll

Catalina Coll
Spain's goalkeeper Catalina Coll says she is 'disappointed' the Rubiales controversy has overshadowed her team's triumph

Spain's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Catalina Coll has told the BBC she is "disappointed" her team's triumph is being overshadowed by Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissing her team-mate Jenni Hermoso.

"I'm saddened the footballers aren't the focus of people's attention," Coll said. "What disappoints me is that now everyone who stops you on the street talks to you about this and doesn't say: 'Congratulations on the World Cup!'"

Coll is unwavering in her support for Hermoso, who said she did not consent to the Spanish Football Federation president kissing her on the lips after their victory.

Rubiales was suspended by Fifa a day after he insisted he would not resign from his post as head of the federation and claimed the kiss was "mutual and consensual".

Luis Rubiales kissing Jenni Hermoso
Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso after Spain won the Women's World Cup final against England

Spanish prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident amounts to sexual assault.

The incident triggered a wave of criticism and a heated debate about consent, sexism, and abuse of power in Spain and across the world. But for the Spanish players it feels like their moment of glory is being forgotten.

"I've celebrated here in Mallorca, my home. I've received a warm reception. I'm happy about what we've achieved," explained Coll. "But there's a part of me that's sad about what's happening. I want to be talking about how I did in the World Cup, not about this."

Coll, who has won Uefa's under-17s and under-19s European tournaments and is now a world champion at the age of 22, says she and will not play for her national side again until Rubiales steps down.

Some 81 Spanish players have signed a letter in solidarity with Hermoso saying they will not play for the women's national team while Rubiales remains in charge.

"We got in touch with each other," Coll said. "I think we all had the same thought that what happened can't continue. It happened to a team-mate we care about a lot, and we decided that we were going to stand by her no matter what she decided. And that's what we did. This was our decision and this decision is final."

Jenni Hermoso playing for Spain
Jenni Hermoso has been flooded with messages of support, says her team-mate Catalina Coll

Coll, who has been in touch with Hermoso directly, acknowledges it is a challenging time for her team-mate.

"Her phone is flooded with all the messages she's received," Coll said.

"She's not in an easy situation, and I can imagine how tough it is for her. But, like I said, we're standing by her no matter what."

The scandal has gained a huge amount of attention around the world, with the United Nations Human Rights office describing Hermoso's stance on the kiss as a potential "turning point".

When asked about the incident itself, Coll replied: "It's not that I was surprised. Obviously, I didn't like it. I think everyone is talking about something we don't want to talk about."

Coll remains defiant against anyone who does not stand by Hermoso and her team-mates.

"Whoever wants to support us can support us, and whoever doesn't, well, they don't have to. In the end, we know what's true, and that's it."

When asked by the BBC if the Spanish federation could have handled the situation better, Coll's agent interrupted the interview. So what does Coll want and how does she think this saga will end?

"We're sad about all of this, but I trust that everything will be resolved and turn out well," she said.

"We want to keep winning titles. We're footballers, and we want to play football, which is what we love.

"We just want our rights to be respected and that this doesn't happen again."

Additional reporting by Lorna Hankin