(Reuters) – The president of European soccer’s governing body Aleksander Ceferin called Luis Rubiales’ behaviour “inappropriate” but said he did not want to interfere with FIFA’s disciplinary investigation into the Spanish Football Federation chief.
Soccer’s world governing body FIFA suspended Rubiales from all football-related activities for three months on Saturday as it investigates allegations he gave a player an unwanted kiss on the lips after Spain’s women won the World Cup.
FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales over the incident with player Jenni Hermoso last Sunday in Sydney that has caused an uproar among players and fans.
Rubiales said he would use the FIFA probe to show his innocence.
“Of course, what he did was inappropriate. We all know it. I hope he knows it was inappropriate. This is enough for the moment because the independent disciplinary bodies will decide,” UEFA President Ceferin told French newspaper L’Equipe on Wednesday.
Rubiales, 46, has been defiant over the kiss – which has been condemned as unwanted by Hermoso, her team mates and the Spanish government – arguing it was consensual.
“His case is in the hands of the disciplinary body of the International Federation (FIFA). Any comments I might make would sound like pressure,” Ceferin said.
Ceferin said there was no need for UEFA to take separate measures against Rubiales.
“He is suspended from all his functions, everywhere. There is no need to do it twice,” he said.
The UEFA chief added that he was saddened that the incident had overshadowed Spain’s World Cup victory.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Toby Davis)