Monday, September 25, 2023

Fifa suspends head of Spanish football over World Cup kiss -Dlight News

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Fifa’s disciplinary committee has suspended the head of the Spanish football association as part of its investigation into his conduct after he forcibly kissed a female player during last weekend’s World Cup final medal ceremony.

Football’s global governing body said on Saturday it had decided to suspend Luis Rubiales from “all football-related activities” at both a national and international level for a period of 90 days, pending disciplinary proceedings. As well as his role at the Spanish FA, Rubiales is a vice-president at Uefa, European football’s governing body.

Fifa also invoked additional powers to prevent Rubiales and the Spanish football association from contacting the player he kissed, either “directly or indirectly”.

The incident has sparked outrage across the country and in international football, and overshadowed Spain’s first women’s World Cup trophy. The Spanish government was already seeking to get Rubiales suspended as chief of the RFEF by filing a complaint with a sports tribunal.

Rubiales had been expected to resign on Friday after public outcry at his conduct during last week’s World Cup final in Sydney, in which he grabbed Jenni Hermoso on stage and kissed her on the lips. He claimed the kiss was consensual, something the player has since said was “categorically false”.

“I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part,” Hermoso said in a statement.

But instead of quitting at an extraordinary meeting of the RFEF on Friday, Rubiales made a defiant speech saying he was the victim of “false feminism” and vowed to stay on. His address was greeted with applause from many of those in the room.

Overnight, the Spanish FA said it would take legal action against Futpro, the players’ union representing Hermoso, accusing it of spreading “lies”.

Spain’s World Cup winning women’s team issued a statement cosigned by dozens of players saying they would not represent their country again until Rubiales was gone. Many big-name women’s players — and a handful of men’s players — have issued public statements on social media in support of Hermoso.

World Cup player of the tournament Aitana Bonmatí said: “There are limits that cannot be crossed and we cannot tolerate this. We are with you teammate.”

Players from England’s women’s team, who lost the final against Spain, issued a statement saying: “Abuse is abuse and we have all seen the truth. The behaviour of those who think they are invincible must not be tolerated and people shouldn’t need convincing to take action.”

Miquel Iceta, Spain’s culture and sports minister, said “this is the end” for Rubiales.

“It cannot go on like this,” he told the El País newspaper. “It cannot happen that in the face of unacceptable facts there is no reaction from either the president or the assembly of the football federation. Therefore, it is over.”

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