Stefan Tabeling and Nathalia Araújo
FIFA’s disciplinary commission has provisionally suspended Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent at last weekend’s World Cup final.
Rubiales will be provisionally suspended from all football-related activities at national and international level for a initial period of 90 days, “pending the disciplinary proceedings opened against Mr Luis Rubiales on Thursday,” the governing body said on Saturday.
FIFA also issued two additional directives, ordering Rubiales and his federation RFEF to refrain from contacting or attempting to contact Spain player Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment.
FIFA said this was “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.”
FIFA added “its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigor any behavior to the contrary”, and said it would not provide any further information on the case “until a final decision has been taken.”
The suspension was the latest twist in an affair which has rocked Spain and football ever since Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips during the victory ceremony after Spain had beaten England 1-0 for the title on Sunday in Sydney.
It came the day after Rubiales refused to resign at an extraordinary RFEF assembly, naming himself the victim of a witch hunt.
The RFEF then early Saturday threatened to take legal action against Hermoso and her union FUTPRO for accusing Rubiales of lying when he said the kiss was consensual.
The RFEF statement included four photos of the incident which they said exposed “lies” which were spread “in the name or by the player herself” and that the RFEF and Rubiales would take legal action against them.
Hermoso had said in an Instagram post late Friday: “I felt vulnerable and a victim of impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act, without any consent on my part.”
The Spanish women’s team also said it would not play again under the current RFEF leadership, in the FUTPRO statement in which dozens of players backed Hermoso.
Spain’s governing sports body CSD is aiming to have him suspended by launching a complaint at the nation’s administrative sports court TAD.
The CSD has asked the TAD to convene as early as Monday, and said that Rubiales could be suspended as soon as the TAD accepts the complaint and starts its probe.
Spain’s acting Deputy Prime Minister, Teresa Ribera told the Europa Press news agency the government would do everything possible to make sure that Rubiales gives up his position or is removed.
There has also been support from abroad for Hermoso from the likes of US great Alex Morgan, and from former German women’s player and football official Katja Kraus who is now part of a movement which fights for more diversity and equality in football.
“The upcry in the escalation is not enough. Everyone who is siding with Jenni Hermoso and her colleagues must keep the pressure up to create real change. In Spain and the whole of football,” Kraus said on Saturday.
“The intolerable behaviour of the Spanish president is the obvious excess in a sports system where male dominance and the exercise of power are still commonplace and widely accepted.
“Not only in Spain, but also in our country, where active Bundesliga officials freely dismiss this intolerable abuse of power as a trifle.”
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