World soccer’s governing body has temporarily suspended Spanish soccer manager Luis Rubiales while it investigates sexual harassment charges that have plagued the sport.
Under the suspension announced Saturday, Rubiales will not be able to participate in any sports-related activities at the national or international level for the next 90 days while FIFA’s disciplinary body investigates allegations that he kissed a player without her consent.
Rubiales kissed Spanish striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips as the team celebrated their victory in the Women’s World Cup last Sunday. Since then, the team’s 1-0 win against England has been completely overshadowed by the controversy over the kiss, which Hermoso said she didn’t like.
Despite the growing uproar – including the start of FIFA’s disciplinary proceedings on Thursday – Rubiales defied expectations and refused to resign. Instead, he delivered a defiant speech On Friday she presented herself as a victim of “false feminism” and insisted that Hermoso had given her permission for the kiss.
Hermoso again rejected his claims on Friday night. “I felt vulnerable and the victim of an impulsive, sexist and inappropriate act without any consent on my part,” he said. said on social mediaand added that she had been pressured to make a statement in defense of Rubiales.
Dozens of Spanish soccer players said they would not play for the national team without a change in leadership, and the government of President Pedro Sánchez is also entrepreneur for the overthrow of Rubiales.
On Saturday, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) attacked Hermoso and “third parties”, who statement He had allegedly prepared his last comments in order to “have the necessary elements” to trigger Rubiales’ suspension.
“Jennifer Hermoso lies in all the statements made against (Rubiales), as we will have the opportunity to demonstrate at the time,” the RFEF said in a statement on Saturday.
“No matter how many statements they want to make to distort reality, it is impossible to change what happened,” the statement continues, concluding: “Afterwards one may think that they have been wrong, but reality cannot be changed.”
In a separate statement released late Friday, the federation threatened legal action against Hermoso.
By suspending Rubiales on Saturday, the president of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, Jorge Iván Palacio, also prohibited Rubiales and the Spanish Football Federation from contacting Hermosa or those close to her to protect their “fundamental rights” and “the good order of procedure.” disciplinary”.
He FIFA statement He ruled out giving more details until the disciplinary committee makes a final decision.
“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all people and therefore condemns with the greatest vigor any contrary behavior,” he said.
This article has been updated with Saturday’s statement from the Spanish soccer federation.
Ali Walker contributed reporting.