Soccer’s world governing body FIFA have suspended Spanish federation chief Luis Rubiales from all football-related activities for three months on Saturday as it investigates allegations he gave a player an unsolicited kiss on the lips after Spain’s women won the World Cup.
FIFA had opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales two days ago over the incident with player Jenni Hermoso last Sunday in Sydney that has caused an uproar among players and fans. Rubiales’ suspension from national and international activities takes immediate effect, it said on Saturday.
Rubiales said he would use the probe to show his innocence.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) issued a statement for him, saying Rubiales “will defend himself legally in the competent bodies, has full confidence in the FIFA bodies and reiterates that, in this way, he is being given the opportunity to begin his defence so that the truth prevails and his complete innocence is proven”.
Jorge Vilda, the coach of the Spanish Women’s soccer team, said on Saturday that he regretted the “inappropriate behaviour” of Rubiales.
Victor Francos, head of Spain’s state-run National Sports Council, said the government supported FIFA’s decision.
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.
Earlier on Saturday the RFEF had said it would stick by Rubiales as he sought to stay on, but a federation spokesperson said after the FIFA announcement: “We respect all the pronouncements of FIFA.”