Former Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales has been banned from the sport for three years by FIFA, which blasted him for violating its rules of “decent conduct” when he planted an allegedly unwanted kiss on a star female player.
The football governing body found that Rubiales breached Article 13 of its disciplinary code when he kissed Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s national team won the Women’s World Cup in August. “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 association said on Monday in a statement announcing its ruling.
The decision comes more than a month after Rubiales resigned as RFEF chief amid the scandal, even as he continued to maintain that the controversial kiss was consensual. FIFA imposed a 90-day suspension on the executive in August, barring him from participating in football-related activities at the international or national level, pending the results of its investigation.
Hermoso, who filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales last month, claimed that she felt “vulnerable” and like a “victim of assault” when the RFEF president kissed her on the World Cup victor’s podium in Sydney. She called his behavior “sexist, impulsive, out of place and non-consensual.”
FIFA said its ruling is subject to appeal, and Rubiales has ten days in which to lodge an objection. The association’s disciplinary code prohibits players and officials from actions that violate the principles of “fair play, loyalty and integrity.” Such violations include insulting a person through offensive gestures or language, as well as behaving in a way that “brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”
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A Spanish judge issued a restraining order against Rubiales last month, prohibiting him from coming within 200 meters of Hermoso, the leading all-time women’s football scorer in the country’s history.