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Spanish soccer federation President Luis Rubiales banned by FIFA after World Cup controversy

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(NEW YORK) — FIFA announced Monday that it is banning Luis Rubiales, the former Spanish soccer federation president, from national and international soccer activities for three years, after the organization found he violated an article of FIFA’s disciplinary code.

The development comes two months after Rubiales’ behavior at the Women’s World Cup final in Australia.

Following Spain’s final 1-0 win against England on Aug. 20, Rubiales kissed Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the team’s trophy ceremony.

The incident was captured on video and in photos. Afterward, Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual.

However, Hermoso pushed back against Rubiales’ claim, saying in a statement, “I want to clarify that, as seen in the footage, I never consented to the kiss he gave me, and of course, I never intended to lift the president in the air. I do not tolerate that my word is distrusted, and even less so, the invention of words I never said.”

“We ask the RFEF [the Spanish soccer federation] to implement the necessary protocols and to ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures. It is essential that our national team is represented by figures that project its values of equality and respect in all areas,” Hermoso added.

On Aug. 26, FIFA said it would suspend Rubiales, who had been RFEF president since 2018, for 90 days while they investigated the incident.

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behaviour to the contrary,” the international soccer governing body said in a statement at the time.

FIFA has not published the results of their investigation but said Rubiales had been notified of the decision and that he had 10 days to request a “motivated decision” if he chose to do so and that the decision remains open to a potential appeal at this time.

The soccer governing body repeated its earlier “commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people” and said it was committed to “ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.”

The kissing incident sparked outrage and controvery throughout Spain, around the globe and in the soccer world. Afterward, several of Spain’s coaching staff within the RFEF, including RFEF Vice President Rafael del Amo, resigned in protest of Rubiales’ misconduct.

The resigning staff said in a statement then that they expressed their “firm and resounding condemnation of the conduct shown by the RFEF president.”

 

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