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FIFA suspends Luis Rubiales, former Spanish football director, for 3 years

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World football’s governing body on Monday banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish football federation, from the sport for three years after he forcibly kissed a player after the Women’s World Cup final in august.

Mr. Rubiales kissed player Jennifer Hermoso during the medal ceremony after the Women’s World Cup final on August 20, a televised incident that cast a pall over the Spanish team’s celebrations and hijacked the attention from a moment of national pride to a legacy of sexism in Spanish football. It also led to accusations in the days that followed that Mr. Rubiales and other members of the federation had pressured the player to say the kiss was consensual.

Ms Hermoso instead filed a criminal complaint for sexual assault and Mr Rubiales – who had initially resisted calls to resign – was placed under a 90-day provisional suspension while FIFA, the governing body of the football, was investigating the incident. He resigned as president of the Spanish football federation less than a week after the final, amid players refusing to take the field for the national team.

On Monday, FIFA’s disciplinary committee said Mr. Rubiales would be banned from “all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years” for breaching the organization’s disciplinary code through his actions after the FIFA final. 20 August. did not provide further details on the findings, but said Mr. Rubiales might request them, in which case a so-called reasoned decision would be made public.

Rubiales could then appeal the case multiple times, first to a FIFA panel and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. FIFA’s legal chief, Emilio Garcia, who like Rubiales is Spanish, sits on the tribunal’s board.

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect and protect the integrity of all and to ensure that the fundamental rules of decent conduct are respected,” it said in a statement.

There was no immediate comment from Ms. Hermoso or the Spanish women’s team, which had briefly refused to play in light of the incident with Mr. Rubiales.

Mr Rubiales insisted he had done nothing wrong at the medal ceremony, describing the kiss as a consensual “kiss” and, in an unrepentant speech at a federation meeting , he claimed he had been the victim of “social assassination” and “false feminism”. »

Ms. Hermoso and her teammates hit back just as forcefully, describing years of sexism and mistreatment by the country’s soccer federation, and rejecting any suggestion that the kiss — which took place just feet from the Queen Letizia of Spain, who also took part in the medal ceremony — had been consensual.

After the Spanish federation issued a statement to this effect on behalf of Ms. Hermoso, she responded with her own. “I would like to clarify that, as the images show, at no time did I consent to the kiss he gave me,” Ms. Hermoso wrote. “I do not tolerate my word being questioned, and even less so that it is invented and that I did not say.”

Ms Hermoso said she “felt vulnerable and the victim of an impulsive, sexist and inappropriate act without any consent on my part” – and that she was initially pressured to downplay Mr Rubiales’ actions.

In September, a Spanish court issued a restraining order banning Mr. Rubiales from coming within 200 meters of Ms. Hermoso.

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nytimes

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