FIFA, in response to the controversy surrounding Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s football federation, has announced to suspend him for a duration of 90 days.
Despite the mounting pressures and criticisms urging his resignation, Rubiales adamantly remained in his position, prompting FIFA’s intervention.
The incident under scrutiny occurred after Spain’s triumph in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final, where Rubiales spontaneously kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips.
In a press release, FIFA said: “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.”
FIFA has also ordered Rubiales, the RFEF and its officials or employees to refrain from contacting the Spanish footballer or people close to her in order to preserve Hermoso’s fundamental rights.
The decision adopted by the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has been communicated today to 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,” the statement added. “FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behaviour to the contrary.”
Earlier today, Spain’s football federation had said that it will take legal action to defend Rubiales.
The RFEF provided four images of Hermoso’s embrace with Rubiales, with an analysis of each, which it claims demonstrates that she applied force to lift Rubiales’ feet off the ground.
The federation says it has tried to contact Hermoso, who is Spain’s leading women’s goalscorer with 51 from 101 appearances but has “been unsuccessful at all times”.
“The evidence is conclusive,” it said. “Mr President has not lied.”
Background of the controversy
During the Women’s World Cup final, held at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Rubiales, aged 46, was engaged in a provocative gesture by grabbing his crotch, an act that took place in the presence of Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter.
Rubiales’ controversial actions didn’t end there. During the subsequent presentation ceremony, he shared an unexpected kiss with Hermoso, a footballer who plays for Pachuca in Mexico.
While Hermoso initially expressed her displeasure with Rubiales’ behaviour on Instagram, a subsequent statement issued on her behalf took a more supportive stance towards him.
Rubiales eventually apologized for the kiss, yet his apology fell short of satisfying Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who joined the calls for Rubiales’ resignation. Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz also echoed this sentiment.
Amid mounting pressure, the situation escalated. Hermoso aligned herself with the players’ union, Futpro, which advocated for accountability and consequences for Rubiales’ actions.
FIFA initiated disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) convened an extraordinary general assembly to address the crisis. Despite expectations of his resignation, Rubiales vehemently refused to step down.
He offered apologies for his controversial gestures but vowed to persist in the face of adversity. As the Spanish government pursued legal measures against Rubiales, social media statements by Hermoso and Futpro further intensified the unfolding drama.
The saga surrounding Rubiales’ conduct and the subsequent reactions underscores the broader impact of leaders’ actions in the realm of sports and politics, emphasizing the importance of accountability and cultural sensitivity.