FIFA bans Rubiales from all football-related activities for three years 

Former Spanish football chief's forced kiss after World Cup final breached disciplinary code 

Luis Rubiales during his speech at the RFEF EGM on August 25, 2023
Luis Rubiales during his speech at the RFEF EGM on August 25, 2023 / Esport 3 broadcast
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 30, 2023 01:03 PM

October 30, 2023 03:26 PM

FIFA's disciplinary committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years

Football's governing body found that Rubiales breached Article 13 of its disciplinary code, according to a statement released on Monday. 

Rubiales had already been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days, for his actions following the women’s World Cup final on August 20, when he forcibly kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent.   

According to FIFA, Rubiales was notified of the terms of its decision on Monday and has "ten days in which to request a motivated decision." The ruling can be appealed

FIFA "reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld," the short statement concluded. 

Article 13 

Article 13 covers "offensive behavior and violations of the principles of fair play," and envisages disciplinary action for "violating the basic rules of decent conduct; insulting a natural or legal person in any way, especially by using offensive gestures, signs or language; using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature," and "behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute," among other things. 

Legal action 

Rubiales eventually stood down as Spanish football president on September 10, but argued he was the victim of a "disproportionate campaign" and "excessive persecution." 

Rubiales said he reluctantly resigned in order to smooth over Spain, Portugal and Morocco's ultimately successful joint bid to host the men's World Cup in 2030. 

Hermoso and Spain's public prosecution filed a complaint against Rubiales over sexual assault and coercion. He also stepped down as one of UEFA's vice presidents. 

Hermoso and other players were pressured by Rubiales and members of his team to justify the events, something the prosecution considered could be considered a crime of coercion

Forced kiss 

After the World Cup final on August 20, which Spain won 1-0 against England to become world champions for the first time, Luis Rubiales grabbed Hermoso's head and kissed her on the lips during the medal ceremony. 

The federation chief posted an apology video from the Doha airport, which drew criticism for its apparent lack of sincerity or confession of wrongdoing. It later emerged that Rubiales pressured Hermoso to appear alongside him in the video, while Spanish team manager Jorge Vilda also pressured the player's family up to three times for the same motive. 

Rubiales then refused to resign during an explosive speech given at an RFEF extraordinary general meeting, contrary to all expectations, while railing against the "false feminism" which he said was trying to "socially assassinate" him.  

The RFEF head also claimed the kiss was consensual. 

Following his refusal to step down, 81 Spanish players announced they would not be returning to the national team fold until there were significant changes in the directorship of the organization. The federation then threatened legal action against the players

The Spanish Football Federation released various statements brandishing Hermoso a liar. In a personal statement, unlike most that were sent through her union, Hermoso denied that the kiss was consensual and explained that she felt the victim of an assault.    

Manager fired 

During Rubiales' EGM speech, the manager of Spain's men's and women's teams, Luis de la Fuente and Jorge Vilda respectively, were seen applauding the federation president's words. This in turn led to widespread criticism of each team manager.  

Shortly after, the vast majority of Vilda's backroom staff resigned in protest. Yet, neither de la Fuente nor Vilda stepped down. De la Fuente later apologized for applauding. 

The women's team manager was eventually fired. Vilda had long been the subject of controversy, stretching back to a year before the World Cup, when 15 players sent letters to the federation asking for improvements and changes.