The Spanish FA chief, Luis Rubiales, has reacted to his suspension by FIFA amid the World Cup kiss row with Spain’s Women’s World Cup winning star, Jenni Hermoso, saying he will fight against it.
In an extraordinary statement released today, FIFA confirmed that the controversial Rubiales is now barred from all ‘football-related activities at national and international level’ for 90 days.
Rubiales has also been banned from making any contact with Hermoso and ‘her close environment’, after she alleged the kiss on Sunday was an ‘impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act’, and that she had been placed under ‘continuous pressure’ to defend him.
On Saturday the entire women’s coaching team resigned from their roles, condemning the actions and attitude of Rubiales and claiming that female members of staff had been ‘forced’ to sit in the front row as he defended himself in a lengthy rant last night.
But Rubiales has been defiant over the kiss, claiming in a statement of his own that he will ‘legally defend himself’ against what he last night called a ‘social murder’.
Hermoso, 33, said through the Spanish players’ union FUTPRO that she ‘felt vulnerable’ after Rubiales kissed her following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England on Sunday.
The moment, in which Rubiales grabbed both sides of her head and pulled her in to kiss her on the lips, was caught on live TV and followed another incident in which the chief appeared to grab his crotch in the presence of Spanish Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter.
Hermoso released an emotional statement on Friday after Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual, alluding to a stream of incidents against players off the pitch.
She added: ‘We as a team do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture.’
A statement released by union FUTPRO, which was signed by 56 players plus the entire 23-strong World Cup winning squad, stated they will all refuse to play for Spain until Rubiales is sacked.
They were followed by eleven members of the coaching squad on Saturday, who released their own statement in support of the players.
They said: ‘The undersigned express their firmest and most emphatic condemnation of the conduct shown by the president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Manuel Rubiales Béjar, towards the player of the National Women’s National Team, Jennifer Hermoso.
‘After the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, which took place on August 25, 2023, in which the president of the RFEF did not present his resignation and in which he offered a story that in no way reflects what was felt by the aforementioned player, who has expressly stated that she felt like a “victim of aggression”, this part of the Technical Team supports the player Jennifer Hermoso, endorsing the version offered by her.
‘Adding the inconvenience of having to necessarily attend the aforementioned assembly of August 25, at which, in addition, an event that was especially hurtful to this technical body took place, since several of the female members of the technical staff were forced to stand in the front row, exposing their image [as if they] shared the view of the president of the RFEF.’ manager of Spain’s men’s team, Luis de la Fuente, also commented on the scandal as he condemned Rubiales.
In a statement, he criticised ‘the wrong and misplaced behaviour of the president of the RFEF’, adding: ‘The events involved did not respect the minimum protocol that must be followed in these celebratory acts, and are not edifying or appropriate for a person who was representing all of Spanish football.’