Spanish Soccer Chief Suspended After Controversial Kiss, Revolt by World Cup Winning Team

Spanish soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by the sport’s global governing body FIFA, following a controversial kissing incident that took place after Spain won the Women’s World Cup.

During the celebrations after Spain defeated England in the championship final on Aug. 20, Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips. The kiss made headlines around the world when Hermoso said that she “did not enjoy” it. The matter became a scandal with Rubiales facing criticism from players and politicians. He subsequently issued an apology saying that he was “sorry for those who were offended.”

On Aug. 24, FIFA launched an inquiry into Rubiales’ actions. On Aug. 25, he refused to step down from his position, saying that he had asked the player before the kiss and that it was “a spontaneous kiss, mutual and euphoric, and, above all, consensual.” The same day, Hermoso released a statement on Instagram saying that his claims were “categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated.” “I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual,” the statement added.

On Aug. 26, the Spanish soccer federation stood by Rubiales and said that he was not lying and that they would take legal action against Hermoso.

Meanwhile, 81 Spanish soccer players, including the entire World Cup-winning team, have refused to play until Rubiales quits.

Hermoso is a legend of the game and Spain’s all-time highest goal scorer.

The FIFA statement in full:

“The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Jorge Ivan Palacio (Colombia), in use of the powers granted by article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr. Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level. This suspension, which will be effective as of today, is for an initial period of 90 days, pending the disciplinary proceedings opened against Mr. Luis Rubiales on Thursday, August 24.

Likewise, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and in order to preserve, among other factors, the fundamental rights of the national soccer team player Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and the good order of the disciplinary proceedings before this disciplinary body, has issued two additional directives (article 7 FDC) by which he orders Mr. Luis Rubiales to refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact the professional player of the Spanish national football team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment. Likewise, the RFEF and its officials or employees, directly or through third parties, are ordered to refrain from contacting the professional player of the Spanish national team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and her close environment.

The decision adopted by the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has been communicated today to Mr. Luis Rubiales, the RFEF and UEFA for due compliance.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee will not provide any further information on these disciplinary proceedings until a final decision has been taken.

FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behavior to the contrary.”

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