FIFA has suspended Luis Rubiales, head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips during Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory.
FIFA on Saturday announced Rubiales’ suspension for at least 90 days with immediate effect for his unwillingness to step down following the kiss. Rubiales was supposed to retire on Friday, but in a statement to the General Assembly of the federation, he adopted a combative tone and declared, “I will not resign!” According to 33-year-old Jenni Hermoso, the kiss was unconsensual.
The Spanish Football Federation has reportedly opened an internal investigation into the matter after its sexual violence policy was activated. “Our protocol is currently activated and while investigating the events, we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved. As the protection delegate for sexual violence, I must adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee,” the delegate for the protocol’s protection, Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona said in a statement. Once a complaint is filed, the protocol is initiated.
This case was the result of events that took place during the medal ceremony on the day of Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup. The medal presentation started, and the delegation recognized each winner individually, Infantino presenting the medals to each player. Then the royals gave them an embrace. Many of them were welcomed by Rubiales with a bear hug and a kiss on the cheek, and he even lifted some of them into the air.
When it was Hermoso’s turn to be awarded, the video broadcast in the stadium shows Hermoso’s arms wrapped over the top of Rubiales’ back, and Rubiales’ arms around Hermoso’s shoulders. Rubiales appears to speak to Hermoso while the two are temporarily rocking back and forth. Rubiales places his hands on Hermoso’s back of the head. Before she continues walking along the parade, he kisses her on the lips and then gives her two slaps on the back.
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Mr. Rubiales’ behavior has been condemned by members of the Spanish Football Federation Team with a close friend and supporter of Mr. Rubiales for many years, Jorge Vilda, calling the controversy “real nonsense” and claiming it tainted the team’s World Cup victory.