The Spanish government has taken the decision to suspend Luis Rubiales, the President of the Royal Spanish Football Association (RSFA), after he refused to step down following an incident at the Women’s World Cup final. The government’s sports council has submitted two complaints against Rubiales to a court of arbitration, which will review the case and determine if he violated Spanish sports law. If found guilty, Rubiales could face a ban ranging from two to 15 years.
The incident in question occurred after Spain’s victory over England in the final match. Rubiales embraced midfielder Jenni Hermoso and planted a kiss on her lips. While photos and videos from the post-match ceremony showed Rubiales engaging in similar displays of affection with other players, it was his interaction with Hermoso that drew criticism. The national players’ union spoke out against Rubiales, stating that “acts like the ones we witnessed don’t go unpunished.”
Hermoso initially expressed her discomfort with the kiss on social media, but later described it as a “mutual” and “spontaneous gesture” in a statement. Despite the controversy, Rubiales has remained defiant and refused to resign. During a press conference, he referred to the kiss as “a little peck” and accused “false feminists” of trying to ruin his career. He declared, “I won’t resign. I will fight until the end.”
Rubiales’ response to the incident has shifted over time. Initially, he downplayed the controversy and dismissed his critics as “idiots and stupid people.” However, he later released a video statement expressing regret for his actions. While his stance on the matter may have changed, members of Spain’s “feminist government” have been vocal in their criticism of Rubiales. Acting Gender Equality Minister Irene Montero welcomed the decision to suspend the RSFA chief, stating that Spain will not tolerate macho attitudes or the denigration of women.
The suspension of Rubiales by the government’s sports council marks only the beginning of his legal troubles. He is also facing a disciplinary investigation by FIFA, the international governing body for soccer. The outcome of these investigations could have significant implications for Rubiales’ career in football.
The case has sparked a larger conversation about consent and appropriate behavior within the sports world. It serves as a reminder that actions, even those that may seem harmless or well-intentioned, can have consequences. As the RSFA and FIFA continue their investigations, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of all athletes, regardless of their gender. Spain’s feminist government is determined to promote equality and respond firmly to any attack on it.
As the case unfolds, it highlights the importance of accountability within sports organizations and the need to address issues of power dynamics and misconduct. It serves as a reminder that actions have consequences, and individuals in positions of authority must act responsibly and with respect towards others. Ultimately, the outcome of Rubiales’ case will not only determine his future in football but also set a precedent for how similar incidents will be handled in the future.