FIFA has opened opened disciplinary proceedings against the head of Spain’s football association, following inappropriate behavior during the Women’s World Cup final.
(Bloomberg) — FIFA has opened opened disciplinary proceedings against the head of Spain’s football association, following inappropriate behavior during the Women’s World Cup final.
The decision from football’s ruling body follows intense criticism from both athletes and politicians over the actions of Luis Rubiales, after he kissed one of the players on the mouth after Spain’s first Women’s World Cup victory.
The Spanish women’s professional football league — Liga F — has asked Spain’s High Council of Sports — a government body in charge of overseeing the country’s sports federations — to remove Rubiales as head of the football association. The request comes because of obscene gestures he made in the director’s box during the game, kissing one of the players on the mouth after Spain won, and insulting journalists that asked him about the incident in the aftermath, the league said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
“Having a boss grabbing the head of an employee and kissing her on the mouth is, simply, unacceptable,” the league said. “It’s not only about the kiss. It’s about an attitude that is far removed of our social values. An attitude that has gone down in global sporting history and, more worryingly, will forever be associated to our Women’s National Team.”
FIFA said it informed Rubiales on Thursday that it is opening disciplinary proceedings against him, according to a statement.
“FIFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behavior to the contrary,” it said.
A spokesman for the Spanish Football Association declined to comment. A representative for the High Council of Sports confirmed it received the complaint from Liga F.
During celebrations following Spain’s victory, Rubiales grabbed forward Jennifer Hermoso’s head and kissed her on the lips. She later said she didn’t enjoy it and Rubiales has come under widespread criticism from media, players and political leaders, including from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
After initially calling the episode a “nonsense,” Rubiales later backtracked and said he regrets the move in a video posted on Monday. “I need to apologize, and what’s more, learn from this, and understand that when you are president of an institution as important as the federation, you have to be more careful,“ he said.
“We are working so that acts like the ones we have seen never go unpunished, are sanctioned and the pertinent measures are adopted to protect soccer players from actions that we believe are unacceptable,” Futpro, a union of women football players which represents Hermoso, said in a statement late Wednesday.
The Spanish football association will hold an extraordinary general assembly on Friday to decide the future of Rubiales and it has opened an internal procedure to look into integrity matters on the back of the incident.
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(Updates with FIFA proceedings, additional context.)
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