The crisis in Spanish soccer deepened after the suspension of the world governing body, FIFA, on Saturday Luis Rubialespresident of the Spanish soccer federation, after kissing the winner of the Women’s World Cup Jenni Beautiful on the lips at the end of last week.
FIFA said it would suspend Rubiales from “all soccer-related activities at the national and international level” for 90 days while disciplinary proceedings take place, deepening a scandal that marred a historic victory for the women’s team.
Rubiales says the kiss was consensual and has refused to back down from the incident despite fierce criticism from Hermoso, his teammates and the Spanish government.
Hermoso said the kiss was unwanted and that she and the entire World Cup-winning team have refused to play as long as Rubiales remains president.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has supported the president, threatening legal action against Hermoso and others.
FIFA also prohibited Rubiales and the Spanish Football Federation from contacting Hermoso to preserve their “fundamental rights”. After the kiss, watched by millions of viewers around the world, Hermoso said she had been asked to “take the pressure off” on Rubiales.
Following news of the FIFA ruling, the RFEF named an interim president and said Rubiales maintained his innocence.
“Rubiales has said that he will defend himself before the relevant bodies and fully trusts the work of FIFA, and reiterates that, in this way, he will have the opportunity to start his defense so that the truth prevails and his full innocence is proven. ”, said a statement from the federation.
The FIFA suspension comes after the scandal escalated further when the Spanish soccer federation threatened legal action against Hermoso, accusing the player of lying about being kissed by Rubiales.
“The evidence is conclusive. The President has not lied,” the federation said, along with descriptions of photographs that attempted to support Rubiales’ claim.
The federation also said the players had “an obligation” to participate in matches “if they are called up”, after the 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning team, including Hermoso, and almost 50 other professional footballers, said that they would He will not play for the country again until Rubiales is removed from office.
On Friday, Rubiales delivered a defiant speech, saying multiple times that she would not resign and speaking of “unfair” campaigns and “false feminism.”
Responding to the speech, Hermoso issued a statement in which he said “at no time did I consent to the kiss they gave me.”
Writing on social media, Hermoso said: “I felt vulnerable and the victim of an impulsive, sexist, out of place act and without any consent on my part.”
He also described refusing requests to issue a statement to “relieve pressure” on Rubiales, saying he had been “under continuous pressure to make a statement that could justify Mr. Luis Rubiales’ actions.”
The dispute had been building up throughout the week, highlighting gender rights and sexism in a country that has seen huge marches against sexual abuse and violence.
Immediately after the kiss on Sunday, Rubiales admitted that he “made a mistake.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the apology for what he described as an “unacceptable gesture” was “not enough.” The government has started a process that would allow them to remove him from office.
Putting pressure on Rubiales and the federation, some of the team’s sponsors expressed their support for the players. The Spanish will play in September.
Hermoso and the team have also had widespread support from across the football world, including England, who Spain defeated in the final.
CNN reached out to UEFA, the governing body for European soccer, of which Rubiales is a member of the executive committee, for comment but did not immediately receive a response.