FIFA Suspends Spain's Soccer President Over A Contentious World Cup Kiss
The FIFA suspends Spain's soccer president over a contentious World Cup kiss. The incident involving the head of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, kissing Women's World Cup Winner Jenni Hermoso without her consent has resulted in a significant upheaval inside Spanish soccer.
As a consequence, the international governing organization FIFAhas suspended the president, and all of Spain's women's coaches have collectively resigned. FIFA has announced the suspension of Rubiales from engaging in "all football-related activities at national and international level" for a duration of 90 days, pending ongoing disciplinary processes.
This development further exacerbates a controversy that has marred the women's team's significant triumph. Rubiales asserts that the act of kissing was consensual and has declined to step down from her position in spite of vehement censure from Hermoso, fellow colleagues, and the Spanish governmental authorities.
Hermoso expressed that the kiss was non-consensual, leading her and the whole World Cup-winning squad to abstain from participating in any further matches as long as Rubiales maintains his presidency.
She wrote in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter:
I did not like this incident. I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist out of place act without any consent on my part.- Jenni Hermoso
Jenni Hermoso and FIFPRO demand action against Spanish FA President Rubiales after kissing incident
The Royal Spanish FootballFederation (RFEF) has expressed its support for the president and has indicated its intention to pursue legal recourse against Hermoso and any other individuals involved.
In order to safeguard the "fundamental rights" of Hermoso, FIFA has imposed a ban on Rubiales and the Spanish footballorganization, therefore prohibiting any form of communication between them.
After the widely witnessed kiss, which was observed by a global audience, Hermoso stated that she had been requested to "mitigate the burden" on Rubiales. Following the announcement of the FIFA verdict, the Royal Spanish FootballFederation (RFEF) appointed an interim president and asserted that Rubiales vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
A statement from the federation said:
Rubiales has said he will defend himself before the pertinent agencies and fully confides in the work of FIFA, and reiterates that, in this way, he will have the opportunity to begin his defense so that the truth prevails and his full innocence is shown.- The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)
FIFA's suspension ensued subsequent to the escalation of the incident, wherein the soccer federation of Spain issued a threat to initiate legal proceedings against Hermoso. The accusation leveled against the 33-year-old player pertained to the alleged fabrication of a claim of an intimate encounter with Rubiales.
The evidence is conclusive. The President has not lied.- The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)
The federation also stated that playershave "an obligation" to participate in matches "if they are called for it," after all 23 members of Spain's World Cup-winning squad, including Hermoso, and nearly 50 other professional women soccer playerssaid they would not play for the country again until Rubiales is removed from his position.
On Saturday, the federation increased its claims of deception against Hermoso. The RFEF stated in a now-deleted statement:
We have to state that Ms. Jennifer Hermoso lies in every statement she makes against the president.- The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)
On Friday, Rubiales delivered a forceful address in which he stated multiple times that he would not back down, citing "unjust" attacks and "fake feminism." He also referred to the kiss that occurred after Hermoso received her gold as "mutual" and detailed a dialogue in which he requested the athlete for a "small peck" and she agreed.
In response to the speech, Hermoso stated on X that "at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales refers in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual." She went on to say that she "felt vulnerable" and that she "was not respected."
She further reported denying attempts to publish a statement in order to "relieve the pressure" on Rubiales, claiming she had been "constantly pressed to make a statement that could justify Mr. Luis Rubiales' actions."
The repercussions from Rubiales' actions has been building all week, shining a light on gender rights and discrimination in a country that has witnessed massive marches against sexual abuse and violence.