(CTN News) – FIFA has initiated disciplinary actions concerning the behavior of Luis Rubiales, the President of the Spanish Football Association, during the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney this past Sunday.
Rubiales has come under substantial scrutiny for his actions, which included kissing Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony.
Additionally, he was observed making inappropriate gestures, such as grabbing his crotch, while celebrating Spain’s 1-0 triumph over England. These actions occurred while he was in close proximity to Spain’s Queen Letizia and her adolescent daughter, Sofia.
“The FIFA disciplinary committee has officially notified Luis Rubiales, President of the Spanish Football Association, that they are commencing disciplinary proceedings against him based on the incidents that transpired during the FIFA Women’s World Cup final on August 20, 2023,” stated the global football governing body.
“The occurrences potentially fall under breaches of article 13, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. Further details regarding these disciplinary actions will be disclosed once a final verdict has been reached.
FIFA reaffirms its steadfast commitment to upholding the dignity of all individuals and vehemently condemns any conduct to the contrary.”
The sections in the disciplinary code mentioned in the statement pertain to “offensive behavior and violations of fair play principles.”
The code enumerates examples of behaviors that could warrant disciplinary measures, encompassing actions like “insulting a natural or legal person through offensive gestures, signs, or language” and “conduct that tarnishes the reputation of football and/or FIFA.”
Luis Rubiales offered an apology via video on the following Monday for the incident involving Hermoso. Nonetheless, Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, characterized the apology as “insufficient.”
In response to the matter, the Spanish FA has scheduled an extraordinary general assembly for Friday and has also initiated internal proceedings.
WATCH NOW: President’s Kiss After Women’s World Cup Win Sparks Controversy and Debate
FIFPRO, the international players’ union, had urged FIFA to initiate proceedings against Rubiales on Wednesday.
On the same day, the Spanish players’ union, Futpro, which represents Hermoso in this case, released its own statement condemning behavior that “undermines the dignity of women.”
“Futpro urges the Spanish FA to implement necessary protocols, safeguard the rights of our players, and adopt exemplary measures,” the statement read.
“It is imperative that our team, the reigning world champions, are consistently represented by individuals who embody values of equality and respect across all domains.”
Rubiales’ Involvement in UEFA and Potential Impact on Leadership Positions
Rubiales holds a position as a Vice President of UEFA and is a member of its executive committee.
Although UEFA has not commented on the initiation of proceedings against Rubiales, in the event that the Spanish federation were to remove Rubiales, they could potentially request UEFA for the right to nominate a replacement.
If FIFA were to suspend him, Rubiales’ seat on the executive committee would remain vacant until the subsequent UEFA Congress, at which point a replacement would be elected.
The ongoing FIFA proceedings could also potentially impact Spain’s joint bid with Portugal, Ukraine, and Morocco to host the 2030 Men’s World Cup finals—a bid that Rubiales is actively involved in leading.
The host decision is slated to be made at an extraordinary FIFA Congress in the final quarter of the upcoming year.
The Women In Football organization issued a statement applauding FIFA’s actions and added,
“The public response underscores the expectation for appropriate measures regarding Rubiales’ conduct, actions that in most workplaces would trigger disciplinary measures at the very least. Given his prior comments about those who criticized such behavior, labeling them as ‘idiots and stupid people,’ Rubiales’ apology falls short.”
“The 2023 Women In Football survey revealed that 18% of women in football have encountered workplace sexual harassment. Unwanted physical contact is unequivocally unacceptable. The responsibility lies with men and their employers to address this matter—otherwise, the issue will only exacerbate.”