In a move that has sent shockwaves throughout the football world, FIFA has confirmed the opening of disciplinary proceedings against Spanish Football Association President Luis Rubiales for his actions during the Women’s World Cup Final.
Rubiales’ Controversial Conduct
Rubiales, the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has become the epicenter of a storm of controversy following several instances of misconduct during the monumental event.
An Uncomfortable Kiss
The initial outrage stemmed from an incident where Rubiales kissed CF Pachuca striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy presentation ceremony.
This, after Spain’s triumphant 1-0 victory over England at the iconic Stadium Australia.
Hermoso, evidently distressed by the act, later voiced her discomfort, stating that she “did not enjoy it.”
But the controversy didn’t stop there. Videos surfaced on social media showcasing Rubiales telling the jubilant Spanish dressing room of his intentions to “marry” Hermoso in the party haven of Ibiza.
Further casting shadows over his conduct, he was caught in an unsavory act, grabbing his crotch amidst the celebrations, close to Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter, Princess Infanta Sofía.
Spain, known for its passionate football fanbase and its rich cultural history, witnessed an outpouring of anger.
Leading the chorus of disapproval were the likes of Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, and the sports minister, Miquel Iceta, who both voiced their strong condemnation of Rubiales’ actions.
Outrage and Condemnation
In a detailed statement, FIFA announced, “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee informed Luis Rubiales, President of the Spanish Football Association, today that it is opening disciplinary proceedings against him based on the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ on August 20, 2023.”
FIFA Disciplinary Proceedings
They added, “The events may constitute violations of Article 13, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee will only provide further information on these disciplinary proceedings once it has issued a final decision on the matter.
FIFA reiterates its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behavior to the contrary.”
Following the incident, Hermoso, represented by the FUTPRO union and TMJ agency, took a firm stance. Backed by the influential FUTPRO, they collectively demand that Rubiales’ actions “do not go unpunished.”
They urged the Spanish FA to immediately put in place stringent protocols and “exemplary measures.” It should be noted that the official protocols of the FA strictly classify ‘forced kisses’ as “unacceptable conduct.”.
Rubiales’ Initial Reaction
In an initial statement, Rubiales brushed aside the mounting criticism as “idiocy.” However, as the pressure grew, he backtracked, expressing remorse.
“Here (in the stadium), it was something natural, normal – so we did not understand the commotion,” he said.
“There was no bad faith. Elsewhere, it seems that an uproar has occurred; of course, if there are people who have felt damaged by this, I have to apologize.”
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, however, dismissed Rubiales’ apology as “insufficient” in light of the gravity of the incidents.
The RFEF, sensing the severity of the situation, has called an Extraordinary General Assembly for September 1.
The primary agenda? Discussing the controversial actions of Rubiales during the Women’s World Cup trophy ceremony.
Global Players’ Union’s Demands
Adding to Rubiales’ woes, Fifpro, the world players’ union, had previously demanded FIFA initiate disciplinary proceedings against him.
Meanwhile, the Futpro union in Spain asserted its “firm and resounding condemnation” of behavior that “violates the dignity of women.”
Futpro’s statement further read, “From our association, we ask the Spanish FA to implement the necessary protocols and ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures.
It is essential that our team, the current world champions, are always represented by figures who project values of equality and respect in all areas.”
While Spain may have won the World Cup, the fallout of the final’s award ceremony overshadows the triumph.
FIFA has imposed a three-month suspension on Luis Rubiales from engaging in any football-related activities as it investigates the situation.
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