FIFA Suspends Spanish Soccer Prez Luis Rubiales For Kissing Incident As Players Threaten Boycott

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FIFA has suspended the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation while its disciplinary committee investigates his conduct during the Women’s World Cup Final.

Luis Rubiales kissed striker Jennifer Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England on Sunday. While Rubiales claimed the smooch was “mutual and consensual,” Hermoso said it was not.

FIFA said Rubiales is removed from soccer duties for 90 days “pending the disciplinary proceedings” opened against him Thursday.

Spanish government officials, players’ unions, Spain’s women players, and even voices from inside men’s soccer have all called for the executive to step down. But in an emergency federation meeting Friday, Rubiales refused.

“I won’t resign,” he declared four times — also claiming he was a victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists.”

During the suspension, Rubiales cannot work in soccer or have contact with other officials.

Spanish Soccer Players Protest Actions of Luis Rubiales

In a statement made through the players’ union, Jennifer Hermoso claims Rubiales is lying in his account of Sunday’s kiss and that she felt intimidated to comply.

In solidarity with Hermoso, all 22 of her Spain teammates, along with more than 50 other players, vowed not to play again as long as Rubiales is in charge.

FIFA Suspends Spanish Soccer Prez Luis Rubiales For Kissing Incident As Players Threaten Boycott
(Photo by Noemi Llamas/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

So the Spanish federation fired back — threatening legal action against Hermoso for refusing to accept Rubiales’ version of the kiss that happened during the on-field medal and trophy presentation.

On Saturday, FIFA disciplinary judge Jorge Palacio intervened to protect the “fundamental rights” of Hermoso and the integrity of the disciplinary case. Palacio is a Colombian lawyer and former member of its constitutional court who has worked in women’s rights.

He ordered 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,” FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA Suspends Spanish Soccer Prez Luis Rubiales For Kissing Incident As Players Threaten Boycott
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

“Likewise, the RFEF (Spanish soccer federation) 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,” FIFA said.

The FIFA disciplinary committee will decide if Rubiales violated its code relating to “the basic rules of decent conduct” or behaved “in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”

Rubiales could face sanctions ranging from warnings and fines to extended suspensions from the sport. FIFA gave no timetable for the ruling.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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