Former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales has been banned from all football-related activities for three years because of his behaviour after the 2023 Women’s World Cup final, FIFA announced Monday.
FIFA’s disciplinary committee had earlier suspended Rubiales for 90 days after his actions — kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips, grabbing his crotch, and throwing another player over his shoulder — marred Spain’s 1-0 win over England in Sydney on Aug. 20 and sparked multiple investigations into his conduct.
Rubiales initially refused to bow to calls to resign, but after FIFA suspended him, the Spanish government attempted to have him removed from his post and Hermoso filed a criminal complaint, he eventually stepped down on Sept. 10.
“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years, having found that he acted in breach of article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code,” FIFA said in a statement on Monday.
“This case relates to the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on 20 August 2023, for which Mr Rubiales had been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days.
“Mr Rubiales has been notified of the terms of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s decision today. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, he has ten days in which to request a motivated decision, which, if requested, would subsequently be published on legal.fifa.com. The decision remains subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.
“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.”
Rubiales said he will use his right to appeal, accusing FIFA of not giving him the chance to defend himself from.
“I will go to the last resort to see that justice is done and that the truth shines through,” he said in a statement on social media.
Spanish prosecutors have charged Rubiales with sexual assault and coercion over the unsolicited kiss on Hermoso and alleged subsequent attempts to put pressure on the player and her family to support his version of events.
Rubiales, Hermoso, her teammates and RFEF officials have all appeared in court in Madrid to testify in the investigation.
Rubiales has maintained his innocence, saying in an interview with Piers Morgan that there was “no harm, no sexual content, [and] no aggression.”
Hermoso has said that the kiss was nonconsensual, saying she felt “disrespected” and “as an employee of the federation, no one protected me.”
Rubiales’ initial refusal to resign led 81 current and former Spain players to sign a letter saying they would not return to play for their country under his leadership.
His resignation, and the dismissal of national team coach Jorge Vilda, was followed by another standoff between the RFEF and players called up for Spain’s UEFA Nations League fixtures last month, which was resolved when the federation agreed to implement broader, structural changes.
Hermoso scored on her return to the national team in a 1-0 Nations League win over Italy last week.