FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, has banned Luis Rubiales – the former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) – from all soccer-related activities for three years over his unwanted kiss on Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning star player, Jennifer Hermoso.
In a statement released on Monday, FIFA said Rubiales’ actions during the medal ceremony at the Women’s World Cup final in August were in breach of article 13 of its disciplinary code.
“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld,” the governing body said.
FIFA added that the ban, which covers “all football-related activities at national and international levels,” remained subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Rubiales said that he was going to appeal FIFA’s decision “so that justice is served and the truth shines.”
The fallout over Rubiales’ behavior triggered a crisis in Spanish soccer and sparked condemnation in the Iberian nation and across the world. It also overshadowed Spain’s historic triumph – the country’s first ever Women’s World Cup title – in Sydney, Australia.
Following weeks of fierce criticism, Rubiales resigned last month as the country’s soccer president. World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda was also fired from his role in the aftermath of the incident, with his deputy, Montse Tomé, being named his replacement – the country’s first ever woman in the role.
Rubiales, 46, had described the kiss as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso denied, saying she did not consent and was not respected.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Rubiales defiantly refused to resign despite public outcry and protests and was given a provisional 90-day ban from the sport by FIFA.
“This case relates to the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on 20 August 2023, for which Mr Rubiales had been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days,” FIFA said in its statement on Monday.
Article 13 of FIFA’s disciplinary code – titled “offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play” – allows the organization to sanction someone if they are deemed to have violated “the basic rules of decent conduct” or behaved “in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”
Rubiales is currently under investigation for “the crimes of sexual assault and coercion,” in a case being brought by Spanish prosecutors.
He appeared in court last month after which the Spanish Prosecutor’s office said Rubiales had answered questions from the judge and all parties involved and denied the charges.
Hermoso made a glorious return to international soccer last week, scoring in the 89th minute to give the world champions a 1-0 victory over Italy to ensure La Roja remained top of its UEFA Women’s Nations League group.
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