FIFA Hands Three-Year Ban to Rubiales for Forcing a Kiss on Spain Player


FIFA on Monday issued a three-year ban to former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales after his unwanted kiss on World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup medal ceremony in Sydney. 

This kiss, seen as a breach of FIFA’s code of conduct, led to Rubiales’ provisional suspension for 90 days. 


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Hermoso said the incident left her feeling “vulnerable and like the victim of an assault” and described it as “an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part”. 

Rubiales, who repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual, resigned as head of the Spanish football federation in September. 

“The FIFA disciplinary committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years,” the Zurich-based organisation said in a statement.

FIFA said Rubiales had been notified of the decision on Monday and had 10 days to request a so-called motivated decision, which if requested, would be published on FIFA’s legal website. 

“The decision remains subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee,” the statement said. 

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.” 

The incident of the unwanted kiss had significant consequences in Spain, resulting in a reorganization of the women’s team’s management and sparking protests by feminist and student groups. 

Initially, after Spain’s World Cup victory over England, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) issued a statement quoting Hermoso as describing the kiss as a “natural gesture of affection and gratitude.”

However, Rubiales, the former RFEF head, offered only a superficial apology and later took a more defiant stance during a federation meeting on August 25. This prompted Hermoso to release her statement, in which she denied the kiss’s consent and described feeling “vulnerable” and like a “victim of an assault.”

Subsequently, the RFEF accused her of lying about the incident, even threatening legal action. 

The coach of the World Cup-winning team, Jorge Vilda, who had enjoyed Rubiales’ support despite criticism of his authoritarian methods, was dismissed and replaced by Montse Tome, a woman. 

Reports in Spain indicated that Vilda had imposed strict measures like checking players’ shopping bags and requiring open bedroom doors during team training camps, all to ensure player presence in the evenings.

Despite the removal of Rubiales and Vilda, the players of Spain’s national women’s team expressed concerns that management methods were changing too slowly, even considering a strike. 

Hermoso later returned to play for the national team, scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 Nations League victory against Italy.

After the match, she expressed gratitude to the support she received and her enjoyment of football once more.