BARCELONA - FIFA suspended Luis Rubiales as president of Spain’s football federation on Saturday for kissing Women’s World Cup player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, and banned him from making contact with her. The move by world football’s governing body was the latest development in a deepening row between Rubiales and the federation (RFEF) and Hermoso and her Spain teammates which the players say has tarnished the glory of winning the World Cup in Australia last Sunday.
“(We) decided today to provisionally suspend Mr. Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities at national and international level,” FIFA said.
The majority of the Spanish women’s national team coaching staff offered their resignations on Saturday over federation chief Luis Rubiales’ conduct, although controversial coach Jorge Vilda was not among them. “In light of the unacceptable attitudes and statements made by the leader of the RFEF (Spanish football federation), (we) have made the decision to place (our) jobs at the disposition of the RFEF,” read a statement released on social media, signed by 11 federation staff members.
Six of the staff who are offering to resign worked with the first team squad during their Women’s World Cup triumph, while the others operate at various youth age levels for the RFEF.
“The undersigned express their firmest and most emphatic condemnation of the conduct shown by (Rubiales),” wrote the RFEF staff members, referring to his forced kiss of Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso, who said she did not consent to it.
“(After) the president of the RFEF did not present his resignation and ... offered a story that does not reflect in any way any of the feelings of (Hermoso) who has expressly stated that she felt like a ‘victim of assault’, (we) support the player Jennifer Hermoso, endorsing her version of events.” Rubiales, suspended from his post by football governing body FIFA on Saturday, planted a kiss on Hermoso’s lips after Spain beat England to win the World Cup on Sunday in Sydney. Under unprecedented pressure, the president was expected to resign on Friday but insisted he would not quit. Hermoso said she “in no way” consented to the kiss, while Rubiales says she agreed to it.