(FILE) The former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) Luis Rubiales, upon his arrival at court in Madrid, Spain, to testify 15 September 2023 for alleged sexual assault and coercion. EFE/ Sergio Pérez

FIFA suspends Rubiales for three years over Hermoso kiss

Madrid, Oct 30 (EFE).- Luis Rubiales, the former president of Spain’s football federation (RFEF), has been suspended for three years by Fifa, the sport’s global governing body said Monday.

Fifa’s Disciplinary Committee said has banned Rubiales from all football-related activities at both national and international levels for three years, having found that he was in “breach of article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code” when he kissed forward Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during celebrations following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final in August.

He was also seen grabbing his genitals in the spectators’ box alongside Spain’s Queen Letizia shortly after the final whistle.

(FILE) The Spanish national team player Jenni Hermoso (C) participates this Monday in a training session for the senior women’s team in Madrid, Spain, 23 October 2023. EFE/ Rodrigo Jiménez

The kiss sparked an international outcry, with Hermoso denying Rubiales’ claims that it was consensual and saying the “sexist, out-of-place” incident had left her feeling “the victim of an aggression.”

The striker also filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales.

Rubiales was suspended by Fifa for an initial period of 90 days in the aftermath of Spain’s historic World Cup win, which was quickly overshadowed by the scandal.

At an RFEF general assembly the day after his provisional suspension, Rubiales dramatically insisted that he would not resign, reiterating his insistence that the kiss was consensual.

His mother then locked herself in a church in Rubiales’ hometown of Motril and went on hunger strike for two days in protest at what she called the “inhuman, bloodthirsty” treatment of her son.

He resigned in September from his role as RFEF president amid mounting pressure and criticism in Spain and abroad.

Rubiales has 10 days to request Fifa’s reasoning behind its decision, which is subject to appeal, Fifa said.

The world’s top soccer body adds that it “reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.” EFE