Luis Rubiales’ three-year ban over his conduct at last summer’s Women’s World Cup final has been upheld by FIFA’s appeals committee.
The former Spanish football federation (RFEF) president was sanctioned by FIFA’s disciplinary committee in October after he kissed Spain midfielder Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the final medal ceremony in Sydney in August.
Rubiales also grabbed his crotch in celebration of Spain’s 1-0 victory while stood in the stadium’s VIP area.
A release from FIFA said the committee was “comfortably satisfied that Mr Rubiales behaved in a manner contrary to the principles enshrined under article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during and after the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup”.
FIFA said Rubiales had been informed of the appeal outcome and has 10 days to request a motivated decision. Rubiales could also take his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The release added: “FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.”
The announcement of the appeals committee decision comes a day after a judge in Spain proposed he be tried over the kiss on Hermoso. The national court judge, Francisco de Jorge, concluded the kiss was not consensual.
The judge also proposed Rubiales – along with former Spain head coach Jorge Vilda and two other members of federation staff Albert Luque and Ruben Rivera – be tried over an alleged attempt to coerce Hermoso into supporting Rubiales’ claim that she had consented to the kiss.
“The committee wished to stress that it was tempted to impose more severe sanctions in view of the seriousness and gravity of the incidents at stake as well as of the profound negative impact that (Rubiales’) actions had on the image of FIFA, women’s football and women’s sport in general,” the text from the decision stated.
The committee also highlighted a number of aggravating factors – the lack of a public apology, his continued insistence that the Hermoso kiss was consensual, publicly insulting “all those who saw this incident differently” as “idiots and stupid people”, the publication of a statement on RFEF platforms in Hermoso’s name which was not written or authorised by her, using the RFEF general assembly as a public forum to defend himself and distort the reality of the kiss in his favour, and pressuring and “emotionally coercing” Hermoso on numerous occasions.