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Saturday, June 22, 2024

FIFA Suspends Spanish Federation President As Scandal Escalates

  • Governing body moved to act amid quickly growing scandal
  • Rubiales' behavior is rebuked across global soccer community
A view of the FIFA logo outside their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

FIFA on Saturday provisionally suspended Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish football federation, for at least 90 days following his unsolicited kiss of Jenni Hermoso after the Women’s World Cup final, marking the latest flashpoint in a quickly escalating scandal that has rocked the sport.

The governing body was moved to act after Rubiales defiantly refused to resign amid mounting pressure, calling the calls to step down a “social assassination” by “false feminists.” The Spanish national team then threatened to not take the field until Rubiales’ removal.

Rubiales and the federation are also prohibited from contacting or attempting to contact Hermoso or her inner circle. The suspension is pending disciplinary proceedings opened Thursday against Rubiales. 

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons, and therefore condemn with the utmost vigor any behavior to the contrary,” the organization said.

The dispute represents an ugly coda to what had been a highly successful WWC event. And even after the FIFA suspension, tension continued between Hermoso and Rubiales. Hermoso has been adamant that she “felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act which was out of place and with no consent on behalf.”

But the Spanish football federation responded to FIFA’s action by accusing Hermoso of changing her story. “The facts are what they are, and no matter how many statements you put out to distort reality, it is impossible to change what happened. The peck was with consent.”

At least 11 coaches and technical staff members across Spanish women’s soccer have resigned in condemnation of Rubiales.

NWSL’s Show of Support

The rising issue has also forced other soccer leaders to respond. 

NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said leaders of leagues, federations, and governing bodies “must protect our players,” noting that the “actions by the Spanish federation are unconscionable.” 

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