FIFA provisionally suspends Rubiales over forced Hermoso kiss

Sport's governing body prohibits Spanish federation president from making contact with player or her family

Luis Rubiales speaks at the Spanish Football Federation's EGM on Friday, August 25
Luis Rubiales speaks at the Spanish Football Federation's EGM on Friday, August 25 / RFEF broadcast
Cillian Shields

Cillian Shields | @pile_of_eggs | Barcelona

August 26, 2023 02:36 PM

August 26, 2023 02:52 PM

FIFA, world football's governing body, has provisionally suspended Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales from all football-related activity, nationally and internationally, for an initial period of 90 days, effective from August 26, 2023.

In addition, FIFA prohibits Rubiales, "through himself or third parties," from making contact or attempting to make contact with Jenni Hermoso or her close environment. The same directive also applies to RFEF officials and employees. 

The decision comes days after FIFA opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales for his widely-criticized behavior after last Sunday's World Cup final, in which he forcibly kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent

Rubiales was widely expected to resign on Friday but ultimately refused to, while giving an explosive speech at a RFEF emergency general meeting which saw him rail against "false feminism" that he felt was trying to "kill him." These words were received with rounds of applause by those in attendance. 

The federation president also made a crotch-grabbing gesture in the VIP box at the final that has been widely condemned as sexist.  

After Rubiales refused to step down from his post, the World Cup-winning squad announced they would not return to the international fold until there were changes in the directive of the federation. 

In turn, the federation threatened legal action against the players and the players' union, Futpro.

Spanish government aims to force dismissal

Rubiales could also be removed from his post by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Spain's Superior Sports Board ('Consejo Superior de Deportes', CSD), the government body in charge of sports, announced on Friday that the body will present a case to CAS against the federation president.

CSD chief Víctor Francos said that this could be the "Me Too moment of Spanish football", and pointed out that the process that the government body is undertaking is a very difficult one, as such, they don't want to come up against legal challenges that could see the case fall apart.

"Rubiales did not live up to what was expected of him by the players, the government, and Spanish society. He has let us down with his reaction," Francos said.

CAS will now evaluate the case and open the door for Rubiales to be suspended from his post. Francos explained that the CSD are sending their own case to CAS, separate to other complaints that have already been made about Rubiales. 

"We will suspend [Rubiales] from his functions if CAS agrees that what happened classifies as serious misconduct," Francos announced.