FIFA on Saturday suspended Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales after the soccer governing body opened disciplinary proceedings into what a member of Spain’s Women’s National Team said was a non-consensual kiss he gave her after the team’s World Cup win last week.
Rubiales’ suspension, which takes effect immediately, bars him from all soccer-related activities at both the national and international level for 90 days, pending the results of the governing body’s disciplinary proceedings, FIFA announced in a statement on Saturday.
FIFA also ordered Rubiales and the Spanish Football Federation to “refrain, through himself or third parties,” from contacting Jenni Hermoso, the national team member he kissed, “or her close environment.”
Rubiales’ kiss has garnered international scrutiny after Hermoso said on Friday the kiss was not consensual and after the Spanish women’s national soccer team released a joint statement this week refusing to play any matches until Rubiales is removed from his post, hours after Rubiales refused to step down.
Rubiales, who apologized for the kiss and vowed to “take more care” while serving as president of the federation, had reportedly been planning to step down on Friday, ESPN and Spanish outlets reported on Thursday, after FIFA launched its disciplinary proceedings against him. Rubiales, in his video apology, also called the outrage over the kiss “idiotic” and did not address allegations the kiss was non-consensual.
Amid growing calls for Rubiales’ resignation, Liga F, Spain’s professional women’s soccer league, had also asked the country’s High Council of Sports on Wednesday to disqualify Rubiales from his position, while the FUTPRO players’ union that represents Hermoso said on Wednesday it’s working on “permanent measures” to protect soccer players from “unacceptable actions.”