FIFA suspend Spanish FA president as Lionesses show support for Jenni Hermoso

  • Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales refused to resign in extraordinary general assembly
  • Jenni Hermoso issued a statement refuting Rubiales' account of events as "false"
  • RFEF threaten legal action against Hermoso, Spain's all-time leading goalscorer
Luis Rubiales has refused to resign from his post
Luis Rubiales has refused to resign from his post / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

FIFA have provisionally suspended Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish football association (RFEF), pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings opened against him on Thursday.

Rubiales inexplicably kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony honouring Spain's Women's World Cup final win over England, with the player immediately stating after the game that she "didn't like it".

Hermoso, in conjunction with player's union FUTPRO, then called for further sanctions to be taken against Rubiales, citing the need to "protect women footballers from actions that we believe are unacceptable".

In an extraordinary general assembly on Thursday, Rubiales was expected to step down from his role as the president of the Spanish FA amid mounting pressure and widespread criticism of his actions. But in a remarkable U-turn, Rubiales defiantly refused to quit his role and stated - five times - "I will not resign".

RFEF then threatened to take legal action against Hermoso after dismissing her version of events as "lies", also saying in a statement: "In a rule of law, as the president has defended, opinions are counteracted with facts and evidence, and lies are rebutted in court.

"The president of the RFEF has wanted to take this issue with the utmost respect for the players and the institutions and only when an unassumable red line has been crossed has he come out publicly to give his version of the facts."

However, FIFA have now suspended Rubiales for 90 days effective immediately and have instructed him not to contact or attempt to contact Hermoso.

FIFA's full statement on the decision to suspend Luis Rubiales

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. 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.

Likewise, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and in order to preserve, among other factors, the fundamental rights of the national soccer team player Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and the good order of the disciplinary proceedings before this disciplinary body, has issued two additional directives (article 7 FDC) by which he orders Mr. Luis 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. Likewise, the RFEF and its officials or employees, directly or through third parties, are ordered to refrain from contacting the professional player of the Spanish national team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and her close environment.

The decision adopted by the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has been communicated today to Mr Luis Rubiales, the RFEF and UEFA for due compliance.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee will not provide any further information on these disciplinary proceedings until a final decision has been taken.FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigour any behavior to the contrary.

England's Lionesses show support for Hermoso

Jennifer Hermoso
Jenni Hermoso in the aftermath of the Women's World Cup final / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

All 23 members of Spain's World Cup-winning squad and 58 former players issued a fresh statement on Friday night saying they will not play again while Rubiales remains in power, with Hermoso separately calling Rubiales' counter claims "categorically false and part of the manipulative culture he himself has created".

"I clarify that at no time did the conversation occur which Luis Rubiales referred to, and his kiss was not consensual. In the same way, I want to repeat, as I did at the time, that the incident was not to my liking," the forward posted on social media.

"The situation was a shock for me, in the context of the celebration, and with the passing of time and analysing in more detail those initial feelings, I feel the need to denounce this act as I believe no person in their work, sporting or social environment should be the victim of this kind of nonconsensual behaviour. I felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act which was out of place and with no consent on my behalf.

"I was asked to make a joint statement to reduce the pressure on the president, but at that time my mind was only on enjoying the historic achievement together with my teammates. That's why I told the RFEF, as well as the media and people close to me, that I didn't want to make any kind of individual or collective statement on this matter.

"Despite my decision, I must say that I have felt under continuous pressure to come out with a statement which could justify Luis Rubiales' actions. Not only that, but in different ways and via different people the RFEF has put pressure on my family, friends and teammates to provide testimony which had little or nothing to do with my feelings."

Hermoso has received support from all over the world ever since the incident in Sydney, with beaten finalists England adding their voice in a post that simply stated: "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 against any form of harassment.

"We all stand with you, @jennihermoso and all players of the Spanish team."

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