FIFA has announced the President of the Spain’s Football Federation has been suspended after he kissed a player on the lips at the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney.
Luis Rubiales kissed Spain’s Jenni Hermoso as she received her winners’ medal. Hermoso later said it was not consensual and that it “shocked” her.
The decision by FIFA comes after Spanish players announced they would boycott while Rubiales remained in his role.
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After the incident, Hermoso said in a statement she felt “vulnerable” and “a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist out of place act without consent”.
“Simply put, I was not respected.”
Multiple reports by Spanish media suggested Rubiales would resign on Friday. However, at an emergency meeting of the Spanish Football Federation, Rubiales refused to resign, instead saying the “little peck” was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual”.
Rubiales said “…we live in a country of laws. Is a consensual kiss enough to remove me? I’m going to fight until the end.”
After the comments, 23 members of Spain’s World Cup squad, 32 other squad members, and 58 former players said in a statement they would not play for the Spanish national team while Rubiales remained as President.
“After everything that happened during the delivery of medals of the Women’s World Cup, we want to state that all the players who sign this letter will not return to a call of the National Team if the current leaders continue,” the statement said.
On Saturday, FIFA announced a 90-day suspension for Rubiales, to allow for “disciplinary proceedings”.
During this period, he must not engage in any football-related activities at national and international level, and cannot contact Hermoso or anyone close to her.
In a statement, FIFA said it “reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behaviour to the contrary”.