Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales is provisionally SUSPENDED from ‘all football-related activity’ for at least 90 days by FIFA’s disciplinary committee, as they wade into Spain’s World Cup kiss row
- FIFA have suspended embattled Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales today
- The sanction will last a minimum of 90 days and he must not contact Jenni Hermoso, the women’s team player he kissed on the lips after the World Cup final
- The Spanish FA issued a strong defence of president Rubiales on Friday night
- WATCH: It’s All Coming Up – Mail Sport’s preview show for the weekend’s football
Luis Rubiales has been suspended from all football-related activity for at least 90 days after he was sanctioned by FIFA’s disciplinary committee.
The Spanish Football Association’s boss came out fighting in a staggering press conference on Friday in which he vowed he would no resign in the face of criticism for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips as Spain celebrated winning the Women’s World Cup.
Many female and male players spoke out against Rubiales due to his conduct – with men’s player Borja Iglesias even quitting the national team until Rubiales is axed from his role – now FIFA’s own disciplinary committee have acted.
The suspension, which commences today and will last for at least 90 days, has been delivered under the powers of article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC).
Rubiales, as part of this latest sanction, has been told he must ‘refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact the professional player of the Spanish national football team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment.’
Luis Rubiales has been hit with an initial 90-day suspension from FIFA after kissing Jenni Hermoso during Spain’s celebrations after winning the Women’s World Cup in Australia
Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, kissed Hermoso on the mouth after the World Cup final
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Likewise, the embattled Spanish FA, (RFEF), and its officials or employees, directly or through third parties, are ordered to refrain from contacting Hermoso and her inner circle.
The statement added: ‘FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behaviour to the contrary.’
It comes after the embattled Spanish FA (RFEF) threatened legal action after brazenly accusing Hermoso of ‘lies’ following her insistence that she did not consent to being kissed by president Rubiales.
In an extraordinary statement late on Friday night, the crisis-ridden organisation continued their staunch backing of Rubiales after he kissed Hermoso on the mouth following Spain’s World Cup final victory over England on Sunday.
Hermoso, 33, said through the Spanish players’ union FUTPRO that she ‘felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part’. The statement was signed by 56 players, who have refused to play until Rubiales is sacked.
It came after Rubiales had claimed he asked permission to kiss Hermoso, who was said to have responded to say he could give her ‘a little peck’.
‘I want to clarify that, as seen in the images, at no time did I consent to the kiss he gave me and of course in no case did I seek to raise the president. I do not tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I have not said,’ Hermoso said.
In response, the RFEF claimed Rubiales acted with ‘utmost respect’ and says that ‘lies have been spread about him’ from Hermoso’s camp.
The Spanish FA said the organisation and Rubiales ‘will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself’.
‘The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the Futpro union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions,’ they added.
The RFEF claims the ‘evidence’ was ‘conclusive’ that Rubiales, 46, had ‘not lied’. In the statement, they included a photo-by-photo rundown of the kiss incident in a desperate attempt to back up Rubiales’ claims.
Rubiales also carried Spanish player Athenea del Castillo Beivide during the celebrations
Jenni Hermoso’s emotional statement in full
‘After achieving one of the most important objectives of my sports career and after a few days of reflection, I want to sincerely thank my teammates, fans, followers, media and everyone who has made this dream come true; your work and unconditional support were a fundamental part of winning the World Cup.
‘Sadly, the ability to celebrate that has been cut short. While it is true that I do not want to interfere with the multiple ongoing legal processes, I feel obliged to report that Mr Luis Rubiales’ words explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated.
‘I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation wo which Mr Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual. I want to reiterate as I did before that I did not like this incident.
‘The situation shocked me given the celebrations that were taking place at the moment, and with the passage of time and after delving a little deeper into those initial feelings, I feel the need to report this incident because I believe that no person, in any work, sports or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviours. I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part.
‘Simply put, I was not respected.
‘I was asked to make a joint statement to alleviate the pressure on the president, but at that moment all I had in mind was to enjoy the historic milestone achieved with my teammates. For this reason, I always conveyed to the RFEF and its various interlocutors, as well as to media and people I trust, that I would not make any individual or joint statements on this matter, as I understood that doing so would take even more prominence away from such a special moment for my teammates and me.
‘Despite my decision, I must state that I have been under continuous pressure to make a statement that could justify Mr Luis Rubiales’ actions. Not only that, but in different ways and through different people, the RFEF has pressured my surroundings (family, friends, teammates, etc) to give a testimony that had little or nothing to do with my feelings.
‘It is not up to me to evaluate communication and integrity practices, but I am sure that as the World Champions, we as a team do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile, and controlling culture. These types of incidents add to a long list of situations that the players have been denouncing in recent years. This incident, one in which I have been involved, is the final straw and what everyone has been able to witness on live television during the celebration also comes with attitudes like the one we saw the morning and have been part of our team’s daily life for years.
‘For all these reasons, I want to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this actionn against my will, without respecting me, at a historic moment for me and for women’s sports in this country. Under no circumstances can it be my responsibility to bear the consequences of conveying something I do not believe in, which is why I have refused the pressures received.
‘I have ZERO TOLERANCE for these behaviours.
‘I want to conclude by making it very clear that while it is I who is expressing these words, it is all the players from Spain and around the world who have given me the strength to come out with this statement. In the face of such a display of disrespect and inability to recognise one’s mistakes and take responsibility, I state here and now to everyone of my decision not to play for the National Team again while the current leaders remain.
‘Thank you all for the messages of support and encouraging words received. I know I am not alone, and thanks to all of you, we will push forward more united than ever. I leave this matter in the hands of TMJ and FUTPRO, and the people I trust. They will continued working on the next necessary steps.
The row into the kiss – and Rubiales behaviour more generally in the celebrations after the final – has taken over discourse in European football.
Rubiales claimed the kiss was ‘consensual’ in a speech on Friday.
He said: ‘It was a spontaneous kiss. Mutual, euphoric and consensual. That’s the key. A consensual ‘peck’ is enough to get me out of here?
‘Jenni was the one who lifted me up. I told her to ‘forget about the penalty [that Mary Earps saved]’ and I said to her ‘a little peck?’ and she said ‘OK’.’
Hermoso said this claim was ‘categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he has generated.’
She continued: ‘I am sure that as the World Champions, we as a team do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile, and controlling culture.
‘These types of incidents add to a long list of situations that the players have been denouncing in recent years.
‘This incident, one in which I have been involved, is the final straw and what everyone has been able to witness on live television during the celebration also comes with attitudes like the one we saw the morning and have been part of our team’s daily life for years.’
On Friday, Rubiales launched a stunning tirade as he blamed ‘false feminism’ for a ‘social murder’ against him in a speech at a meeting where he was expected to step down.
England’s Lionesses released a statement condemning Rubiales , saying: ‘Unacceptable actions allowed to happen by a sexist and patriarchal organisation’
His defiance sparked a furious response from members of the Spanish women’s team, as well as current and former players on the men’s national side.
England’s Lionesses also released a statement condemning Rubiales, saying: ‘Unacceptable actions allowed to happen by a sexist and patriarchal organisation.
‘Abuse is abuse and we have all seen the truth. The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn’t take any convincing to take action against any form of harassment.
‘We stand with you, Jenni Hermoso.’
Alexis Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, and World Cup-winning team-mates Cata Coll, Aitana Bonmati and Irene Paredes have all spoken out publicly in defence of Hermoso.
Cata Coll, Spain’s goalkeeper in the final, wrote: ‘What a pity it gives me that 23 soccer players are not the protagonists… it’s over! With you to death Jenni Hermoso’.
Former Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea said ‘my ears are bleeding’, while ex-Real Madrid and Spain ‘keeper Iker Casillas called the fiasco ’embarrassing’.
Rubiales earns £214,000-a-year in his role as a vice-president for European football’s governing body UEFA, a position he is able to keep even if he is eventually forced out at the helm of the Spanish FA.
THE SPANISH FA’S ATTEMPT TO BLAME HERMOSO FOR ‘KISS-GATE’
The RFEF argue that Rubiales’ arms are only loosely on Hermoso’s back in this photo, meaning he could ‘exert no force’, and that his heels are raised
The above image shows Rubiales smiling as he embraces Hermoso, with one hand on top of her head and the other on her back.
In explanation, the RFEF states: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso, with her arms, grabs the RFEF President from behind, while Mr. President has his arms loose on the upper part of the player’s back. Therefore, no force could exert.
‘You can see how Mr. President has the heels of his feet raised slightly.’
Here, the RFEF maintains that Hermoso keeps her arms around the president and that his heels are raised. Only one of Hermoso’s arms and one of Rubiales’ feet are visible
In the second image, Rubiales’ upper arm has moved lower down Hermoso’s head.
The RFEF explains: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso keeps her arms around Mr. President’s back. Mr. President keeps his arms on top of the player’s body.
‘It is verified how Mr. President already has much higher heels.’
Only one of Rubiales’ feet is visible in the photo.
The RFEF writes that ‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player’
This third image, with Rubiales lifted off the ground, is where the RFEF’s statement ramps up in vehemence and attributes responsibility to Hermoso.
The RFEF states: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must bring his arms closer to the player’s back as a result of having lifted him off the ground and to maintain balance.
‘The inclination of the back of Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso that occurs when she is performing an action of force is indisputable.
‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player.’
The RFEF maintains its stance in the final photo, where Rubiales is still lifted off the ground
For this final photo provided, the RFEF explains: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must continue to hold on to the players so as not to fall and it is evident that the arching of the player’s body corresponds to the lifting force of Mr. President you are performing.
‘The feet of Mr. President are ostensibly raised off the ground as a result of the player’s action.
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