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30 October 2023

Spanish football chief banned for three years for 'that kiss' at women's World Cup final

30 October 2023

FIFA has banned former Spanish Football Association president Luis Rubiales from all football-related activity for three years.

Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy presentation following Spain’s victory over England in the World Cup final on August 20, but Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual.

While Rubiales initially attempted to carry on in his role, he subsequently resigned last month and has now been punished for a breach of article 13 of the FIFA disciplinary code.

“The FIFA 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, having found that he acted in breach of article 13 of the FIFA disciplinary code,” a statement read.

“This case relates to the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on 20 August 2023, for which Mr Rubiales had been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days.

“Mr Rubiales has been notified of the terms of the FIFA disciplinary committee’s decision today.

“In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA disciplinary code, he has 10 days in which to request a motivated decision, which, if requested, would subsequently be published on legal.fifa.com. The decision remains subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA appeal committee.

“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.”

After Rubiales’ resignation from RFEF was made public on September 10, he stated his desire to “defend my innocence” and insisted he had “faith” in the truth.

The actions of the former UEFA vice-president at the World Cup final were widely condemned at the time, after he also celebrated his nation’s victory by grabbing his crotch while standing alongside Spain’s Queen Letizia and 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofia in the VIP box in Sydney.

Rubiales did apologise for his actions in a video statement a day after, but later in August insisted he would not resign and claimed the kiss was consensual during a speech in front of Spain’s regional federations, clubs, players, coaches and referees in Madrid.

All of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad subsequently indicated they would be unavailable for national team duty while Rubiales remained in post before he was banned by FIFA from all football-related activities for an initial 90-day period on August 26.

Spain manager Jorge Vilda was sacked soon after on September 5 and the RFEF apologised at the time for the “enormous damage” caused by Rubiales’ actions.

After Hermoso formally submitted a complaint about Rubiales to Spain’s national prosecutor’s office that same week, days later the complaint of sexual assault and an allegation of coercion was filed by the office to the high court.

Rubiales’ did eventually resign, but later in September refused to apologise directly to Hermoso and continued to insist it had been a “consensual” kiss.

FIFA has now banned ex-Levante defender Rubiales from all football-related activity at national and international level for three years.

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