FIFA Suspends Spanish Soccer Federation President Luis Rubiales For Unwanted Kiss

Kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup may cost Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales his job.

On Saturday, FIFA suspended Rubiales while its disciplinary committee investigates his conduct at the Women’s World Cup final. The move comes after Rubiales refused to resign, despite intense pressure from the Spanish government, women players, soccer clubs and officials.

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Hermoso has said she did not consent to the kiss, which came during the team’s on-field celebration. The team’s players have said they will not play any more games as long as Rubiales is in charge.

FIFA said it removed Rubiales from soccer duties for 90 days “pending the disciplinary proceedings opened” against him Thursday.

The president of Spain’s women’s league, Beatriz Álvarez, told The Associated Press that she believed this was the end of Rubiales’ soccer career. The league filed one of several official complaints against Rubiales that Spain’s government received in the past week.

“Luis Rubiales is finished. He has dug his own grave with his acts and his words,” Álvarez said. “Whether it is because of the action of FIFA or the Spanish government, I am sure that Luis Rubiales won’t spend another minute as president of the Spanish federation.”

FIFA has given no timetable for a ruling. The body’s disciplinary judges can impose sanctions ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions from the sport.

Local media originally reported that Rubiales would announce his resignation to Friday’s general assembly of the federation. Instead, he dug in, painting himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” by “false feminists” and receiving applause from the mostly male crowd.

Hermoso responded that Rubiales was lying about the kiss being consensual and that she had felt intimidated.

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