LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal coach Roberto Martínez has criticized the kiss forced by the Spanish soccer federation president on a women’s player, but says that the scandal should not derail the joint bid by Spain, Portugal and Morocco to host the 2030 World Cup.
“The candidacy is above any one person,” Martínez, a Spaniard, said on Friday. “I think it is in a very strong moment and we hope to be successful.”
Spanish soccer head Luis Rubiales was leading the joint bid by the three neighboring countries, which could potentially include Ukraine. He was suspended provisionally by FIFA for kissing a Spain player on the lips without her consent at the Women’s World Cup awards ceremony in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 20.
Martínez said Rubiales had failed in his role to set an “example” to society as leader of the federation.
“I think there are positions, public positions that are very important to set an example for other sporting institutions, and also for life in general,” he said. “Important public positions have great responsibility and have to set an example.”
Martínez spoke about the crisis that has rocked Spanish soccer after he announced his squad for upcoming European Championship qualifiers with Cristiano Ronaldo still featuring.
Portugal travels to Slovakia on September 8 and plays at home against Luxembourg three days later.
Portugal leads Group J with 12 points. Slovakia is second with 10, while Luxembourg is third with seven points. The group also includes Iceland, Bosnia Herzegovina and Liechtenstein.
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