Fifa suspends Luis Rubiales over Women’s World Cup conduct

Fifa suspends Luis Rubiales over Women’s World Cup conduct

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Fifa has suspended Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales from all football-related activity over his conduct at the Women’s World Cup final.

Rubiales is currently the subject of a Fifa investigation into his behaviour after the match, when he kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips and was also filmed grabbed his crotch in an aggressive celebration at the full-time whistle. He has come under increasing pressure from across sport and politics but on Friday refused to resign in a chaotic press conference.

“The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee… has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level,” Fifa said in a statement.

Rubiales claimed the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual” but Hermoso, who previously suggested comments playing down the incident attributed to her by the federation were false, hit back with an attack on the organisation as a whole.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) which Rubiales runs said it analysed four images of Hermoso and Rubiales embracing, claiming they show it was Hermoso’s force that lifted him in the air, in an effort to blame the player for the kiss. Hermoso was quoted in a statement issued by Futpro, the players’ union representing her, as stating “in no case did I seek to raise (lift) the president” during the podium incident.

Hermoso had accused the Federation of a “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture” as the World Cup-winning squad refused to play while Rubiales remains in post. A total of 81 players signed a letter stating they will not accept national team call-ups while Rubiales refuses to resign.

In the early hours of Saturday, RFEF said it would show there have been lies about what happened by Hermoso or people speaking for her and vowed to initiate legal action.

“Where there is rule of law … opinions are counteracted with facts and evidence, and lies are rebutted in court … The RFEF and the President will show each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself,” it said.

FA Spanish president Luis Rubiales kisses footballer Jenni Hermoso

(BBC)

The statement was accompanied by four photos of the event last Sunday that it said illustrated Rubiales’ contention that Hermoso lifted him by the hips before the incident. He appeared to forcibly kiss Hermoso as the players collected their medals and trophy.

Rubiales also came under fire when footage emerged appearing to show the federation president grabbing his crotch when Spain won, while sat close to the Queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter.

Elsewhere, Spain’s government has started legal proceedings seeking to suspend the soccer federation chief with Victor Francos, head of the state-run National Sports Council telling a news conference: “The government starts today the procedure so that Mr Rubiales has to give explanations before the Sport Court and if the Sport Court agrees, I can announce that we will suspend Mr Rubiales from his functions.”

The secretary of sport also added that he hoped this incident would become “Spanish football’s Me Too moment”.

The Spanish team has also been backed by the Lionesses, whom they beat in Sunday’s final in Sydney. England players declared on Friday evening that they stand with Hermoso, describing the incident as “unacceptable”.

additional reporting by PA

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