std conf valencia

ROUND TABLE | Rubiales case: the start of a new era?


On 20 August 2023, the Spanish women’s football team were victorious over England in the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, winning 1-0. The Spanish captain Olga Carmona scored the winning goal. The match was played at the Stadium Australia in Sydney with a crowd of 75,784 and with record numbers of television viewers watching the match and indeed the whole tournament globally, marking a new level of media recognition and broadcasting success for women’s sport in general. However, on what should have been a moment to be remembered for women’s sporting prowess, all media attention turned to an unwanted kiss from the Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales on the lips of Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso, who has since made a formal complaint. Luis Rubiales eventually resigned in the wake of the incident after initially repeating that he wouldn’t do so, and Jorge Vilda, the Spanish coach, was also sacked in the wake of complaints about his working style, which had previously led to many players refusing to play for the team prior to the World Cup. This incident, as many women (and men) in sport are well aware, is not an isolated one. Gender inequality at all levels: pay, coverage, leadership positions, working conditions and so on, is present from grassroots to elite level sports, and for women from minority backgrounds or with disabilities the situation is even worse.

The Rubiales case has globally raised awareness on inequalities in sports; in Spain the #seacabó – it is over – movement was born. This has reignited Spain’s #metoo movement and there are now many examples of data being collected about gender inequalities and inappropriate behaviour, otherwise known as “micromachismos”, in sport and other areas. A Spanish academic based in the UK, Helena Leguido-Quigley, reached out to Global Health Spain and put out a call on social media; “We’ve all felt we can identify with Jenni Hermoso.” She invited women in academia and healthcare – the two fields she works in – to anonymously send in their experiences. In just 5 days she had received over 200 stories of incidents detailing examples of inappropriate behaviour ranging from lewd comments at work to touching and sexual assaults.

The European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe (CoE) have been working on promoting greater gender inequality in sport for many years. On 10 May 2023 they launched the joint EU-CoE All In Plus project “Promoting greater gender equality in sport”, building on information from the previous All In iteration which had taken place between 2018-2019. The joint project aims to raise awareness about gender inequalities in 6 key areas in sport and to showcase best practices, whilst collecting data from partner countries, including Spain, and organising information sessions to increase media awareness on the subject.

The Think tank Sport and Citizenship has long been organising conferences and roundtables on this topic and is holding a roundtable on this subject to bring together a range of partners from the sports sector during the European Week of Sport: journalists, academics, filmmakers, athletes and representatives from sports organisations to discuss whether or not this really marks the start of a new area regarding the fight against gender-based violence in sport.


The event will be moderated by Francine Hetherington Raveney, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS).




By Francine Francine Hetherington Raveney

11:10 Round table

Patricia Campos, Sports commentator and journalist, À Punt

Paulina Tomczyk, General secretary, EU Athletes

María Pina Tolosa, Former professional basketball player

Paqui MENDEZ, Academic and documentary director/producer

Andrzej Rogulski, Vice-president, Think tank Sport and Citizenship


12:20 Conclusion

Andrzej Rogulski, Vice-president, Think tank Sport and Citizenship


12:30 Cocktail and networking



Octubre Centre de Cultura Contemporània
Carrer de Sant Ferran, 12
46001 València (Spain/España)



Link towards eventbrite


DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASEthumbnail of PRESS REALESE_ROUND_TABLE _Rubiales case_the start of a new era_22_09_2023


Julian Jappert, Director, Sport and Citizenship Think tank :

Sport et citoyenneté