The international soccer organization FIFA suspended the president of the Spanish soccer federation last Saturday after he was accused of kissing star player Jenni Hermoso while the Spanish team celebrated its Women’s World Cup Victory, NBC News reported.
In a statement on Saturday, FIFA said the Disciplinary Committee has provisionally suspected Luis Rubiales from all national and international soccer-related activities for 90 days. FIFA also ordered Rubiales and representatives from the Royal Spanish Football Federation from having any contact with Jenni Hermoso and those close to her.
The decision came just hours after the federation threatened to take legal action to defend Rubiales from the “lies.”
In a subsequent statement, the federation said Rubiales planned to defend himself “so that truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven.” The federation said its vice president, Pedro Rocha Junco, would serve as interim president until Rubiales’ suspension is lifted.
The controversy began when Rubiales hugged and kissed Hermoso as he was handing out gold medals to the Spanish players after their 1-0 victory over England on August 20.
After Hermoso complained about the kiss, calling it nonconsensual, Rubiales defended his actions, saying the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric, and consensual.”
Despite speculation that he would step down, Rubiales said during an emergency meeting of the federation last Friday that he would not resign and claimed that he was a victim of a witch hunt from “false feminists.” He argued that he kissed Hermoso the same way he would his daughters.
In a statement last Friday, Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual and made her feel “vulnerable” and a victim of “aggression.” She described Rubiales’ explanation as “categorically false” and said it was an example of the “manipulative culture he has created.”
Hermoso reiterated that “at no time” did she give Rubiales consent to kiss her.