The former president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, has been given a three-year ban by FIFA from all football-related activities.
This follows the incident on 20 August where Rubiales kissed forward Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony of the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Hermoso released a statement saying that the kiss was not consensual and the controversy surrounding the incident caused Rubiales to eventually step down from his role in Spanish football on 10 September.
On 30 October FIFA announced the three-year ban as a result of Rubiales having breached article 13 of the organisation’s disciplinary code. Article 13 refers to offensive behaviour and violations of fair play. The article was put in place to protect victims of abuse or harassment and ensure prosecution of these offences.
In a statement FIFA reiterated its absolute commitment to “respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld”.
The majority of the World Cup-winning squad boycotted playing for their national team until changes had been made in the football federation
Rubiales has confirmed that he intends to appeal against the ban, continuing to claim that the kiss at the post-match ceremony was “mutual”. However, since the incident Hermoso has consistently said that it was not consensual.
On social media Rubiales said: “I will go to the last resort to see that justice is done and that the truth shines through.”
Prior to this ban, Hermoso filed a legal complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and the prosecutor Marta Durantez Gil added an allegation of coercion when filing it to Spain’s high court. At this hearing last month, Rubiales was banned from going within 200m of Hermoso. However, he continues to deny the allegations.
Since the World Cup final there have been other changes to football in Spain, as the majority of the World Cup-winning squad boycotted playing for their national team until changes had been made in the football federation. This, alongside an uproar of anger and criticism, led to winning manager Jorge Vilda being sacked in September. He is being investigated as part of the criminal case against Rubiales.
In October Hermoso made her return to the Spanish national team in their UEFA Women’s Nations League match against Italy. She scored the 89th-minute winning goal making the score 1-0 and securing three more points for Spain in this new league.