FIFA has temporarily suspended Spanish soccer coach Luis Rubiales, while it investigates allegations of sexual harassment that have rocked the sport.
Under the ban announced on Saturday, Rubiales may not take part in any sports-related activities at national or international level for the next 90 days while Fifa’s disciplinary body looks into allegations that he kissed a female player without her consent.
Rubiales kissed Spanish striker Jenny Hermoso on the lips as the team celebrated their Women’s World Cup victory last Sunday. Since then, the controversy surrounding the kiss, which Hermoso said she did not like, has overshadowed the team’s 1-0 victory over England.
Despite the mounting uproar – including FIFA’s launch of disciplinary measures on Thursday – Rubiales defied expectations and refused to resign. Instead, he delivered a defiant speech on Friday, portraying himself as a victim of “pseudo-feminism” and insisting that Hermoso had allowed her to kiss her.
Hermoso rejected his allegations again on Friday night. “I felt vulnerable, victim of an act driven by impulsiveness, sexism, and out of place without any consent on my part.” he said on social mediaShe added that she was pressured into making a statement defending Rubiales.
Dozens of Spanish footballers have said they would not play for the national team without a change of leadership, and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government is also pushing for Rubiales’ ouster.
On Saturday, the Spanish Football Federation criticized Hermoso and the “third parties” that… statement She claimed that she prepared her latest comments in order to “get the necessary ingredients” to stop Rubiales.
The Spanish Federation said in a statement on Saturday: “Jennifer Hermoso lies in all the statements against (Rubiales), as we will have the opportunity to prove it at the appropriate time.”
“No matter how many statements they may want to make to distort reality, it is impossible to change what happened,” the statement concluded. “After that, one may think that he made a mistake, but the reality cannot be changed.”
In a separate statement published late on Friday, the federation threatened legal action against Hermoso.
By suspending Rubiales on Saturday, the head of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, Jorge Ivan Palacio, banned Rubiales and the Spanish Football Federation from contacting Hermoso or those close to her in order to protect her “fundamental rights” and the “good order of disciplinary procedures”.
the FIFA statement He ruled out providing any other details until the Disciplinary Committee reached its final decision.
He added: “FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting the integrity of all persons and therefore strongly condemns any conduct contrary to this.”
This article has been updated with a statement on Saturday from the Spanish Football Federation.
Ali Walker contributed reporting.