(Update 1: Changes headline, lede, updates text throughout)
Madrid, Aug 26 (EFE).- Luis Rubiales, Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF) chief, has been suspended by Fifa for 90 days, the soccer’s world governing body said in a statement on Saturday.
“The chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Jorge Ivan Palacio (Colombia), in use of the powers granted by article 51 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC), has decided today to provisionally suspend Mr. Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level,” Fifa said in a statement.
“This suspension, which will be effective as of today, is for an initial period of 90 days, pending the disciplinary proceedings opened against Mr. Luis Rubiales on Thursday, August 24,” the statement added.
The suspension comes after Rubiales kissed forward Jennifer Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s World Cup win against England in Australia.
At an RFEF general assembly on Friday, Rubiales refused to step down from his position as the organization’s president and claimed the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual and consensual.”
Rubiales added that he was the target of “false feminism” seeking his “social assassination”.
Hermoso responded to Rubiales’ refusal to quit via the soccer players’ union Futpro saying she did not consent to the kiss and that during the incident she felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression.”
The striker went on to describe the kiss as “an impulsive, sexist, out-of-place act without any kind of consent on my part.”
Earlier on Saturday Spain’s soccer federation said it would take legal action against Hermoso over her remarks which they claimed were false.
“The RFEF and (its) President will prove every lie that is spread either by someone on behalf of the player (Hermoso) or, if it is the case, by the player herself,” the soccer federation said.
“The RFEF and its President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release of the Futpro Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions,” the statement added.
Fifa has warned Rubiales to “refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact the professional player of the Spanish national football team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment.”
Many of Spain’s female players said they would refuse to play for the national team amid Rubiales’ refusal to step down.
The RFEF recalled that all federated players were under the obligation of playing would they be summoned to join the national squad.
The incident has sparked outrage in Spain and beyond with several cabinet ministers calling for the removal of Rubiales.
Fellow soccer players have also rallied behind Hermoso, including Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias who said he would not be returning to play for Spain’s men’s national team while Rubiales remained in his post.
“Wearing the shirt of the Spanish national team is the greatest thing that has happened to me in my career. I don’t know if at some point I will be an option again, but I have made the decision not to return to the national team until things change and these types of acts do not go unpunished,” the forward said in a statement. EFE