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HomefootballEx-Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales banned three years over kiss scandal

Ex-Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales banned three years over kiss scandal

MADRID – Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has been banned from all football-related activities for three years, Fifa said on Monday.

The suspension was imposed following the allegedly non-consensual kiss Rubiales gave to Spain player Jennifer Hermoso after August’s Women’s World Cup final in which Spain beat England.

The “kiss-gate” scandal completely overshadowed what was a momentous moment for Spanish women’s football and blew up into a sexism storm that attracted global headlines.

“The Fifa disciplinary committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former RFEF president, from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years, having found that he acted in breach of article 13 of the Fifa Disciplinary Code,” football’s governing body said in a statement.

Rubiales’ lawyers told Reuters they would not be commenting on the decision. He resigned in September, saying his RFEF position had become untenable.

He had initially vowed not to stand down despite pressure from players, politicians and women’s groups.

Hermoso, 33, filed a complaint that Rubiales had issued a statement without her approval quoting her as saying the kiss was a “mutual, totally spontaneous gesture”.

She said the incident left her feeling “vulnerable and like the victim of an assault”, with a statement on social media describing it as “an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part”.

The scandal caused shock waves throughout Spain, with protesters taking to the streets and government ministers demanding the removal of Rubiales, whose mother locked herself in a church and went on a hunger strike in his defence.

Fifa said Rubiales, 46, had been notified on Monday and had 10 days to request a so-called motivated decision, which if requested, would be published on Fifa’s legal website. He has the right to appeal against the decision.

Rubiales is also being investigated as a suspect in a criminal probe opened by the Spanish national court. The scandal also led the football federation to fire Spain women’s coach Jorge Vilda, who was seen as supportive of Rubiales. He is now the head coach of the Moroccan women’s team.

Former England player Sue Smith said it was the right outcome, telling Sky Sports: “Something had to be done.

“Women’s football stuck together on this and it’s the right outcome.” REUTERS, AFP, BLOOMBERG

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