Former Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales has been handed a three-year ban from the sport by FIFA for violating its rules of “decent conduct.” The ban stems from an incident in which Rubiales kissed star female player Jenni Hermoso without her consent after Spain’s national team won the Women’s World Cup in August. FIFA announced its ruling on Monday, stating its commitment to upholding the basic rules of decent conduct and protecting the integrity of all individuals involved in the sport.
The decision comes more than a month after Rubiales resigned as RFEF chief amid the scandal, while continuing to maintain that the controversial kiss was consensual. In August, FIFA imposed a 90-day suspension on Rubiales, preventing him from participating in any football-related activities at the international or national level, pending the outcome of its investigation.
Hermoso, who filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales last month, expressed feeling “vulnerable” and like a “victim of assault” when he kissed her on the victor’s podium in Sydney. She described Rubiales’ behavior as “sexist, impulsive, out of place and non-consensual.”
FIFA’s ruling is subject to appeal, and Rubiales has ten days to lodge an objection. The association’s disciplinary code prohibits players and officials from engaging in actions that undermine the principles of fair play, loyalty, and integrity. This includes insulting individuals through offensive gestures or language and behaving in a manner that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.
A Spanish judge had previously issued a restraining order against Rubiales, preventing him from coming within 200 meters of Hermoso, who is the leading all-time women’s football scorer in Spain.
This scandal has brought attention to issues of consent and respect within the sport and has sparked a debate about appropriate behavior towards female players. FIFA’s decision to ban Rubiales reflects its commitment to ensuring the safety, well-being, and dignity of all individuals involved in football.
As this story develops, it remains important to promote a culture of respect and consent in sports and to continue holding individuals accountable for their actions. This case serves as a reminder that no one is above the rules and that the protection of players’ rights should be a top priority for football organizations and governing bodies.