Rubiales Banned for Three Years: Accused of Inappropriately Touching England Players and Kissing Spanish Player Without Consent at World Cup

Former Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales

Luis Rubiales, the former head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has received a three-year prohibition from any involvement in football. This ruling, issued by FIFA in October, emerged publicly after the organization detailed its grounds for the ban.

Rubiales’ Alleged Misconduct

  • Incidents Involving English Players: Debbie Hewitt, the FA Chair, claimed Rubiales engaged in inappropriate behavior with English players during the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia. Allegations include Rubiales touching Laura Coombs’s face in an unusual manner and forcibly kissing Lucy Bronze.
  • Aggressive Conduct: Hewitt also observed Rubiales’s behavior as overly aggressive and unpleasant, particularly when he was asked to refrain from moving to a more noticeable position during the medal ceremony.
  • Non-consensual Interaction with a Spanish Player: The incident involving Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso was particularly concerning. Hewitt described Rubiales’s act of kissing Hermoso as non-consensual and forceful. Hermoso herself corroborated this, denying any consent to Rubiales’s actions.
  • Other Inappropriate Actions: Rubiales was also accused of tapping another Spanish player on the bottom and exhibiting other unprofessional behaviors, like grabbing his crotch during the celebration of Spain’s victory.

Rubiales’s Denial and FIFA’s Stance

Rubiales refuted these accusations, labeling Hewitt’s portrayal of him as offensive and dishonest. He defended his actions as comforting gestures towards an injured player. Despite his defense, FIFA found no reason to question Hewitt’s testimony and condemned Rubiales’s actions as unacceptable and damaging to the image of FIFA and women’s sports.

Consequences and Broader Impact

Rubiales’s ban signals a strong stance against sexual misconduct in football. The case has underscored the need for stricter measures to protect players and uphold the integrity of the sport. However, Rubiales plans to appeal against FIFA’s decision.

Rubiales is also facing legal scrutiny beyond FIFA’s ban, with Spanish prosecutors investigating him for sexual assault and coercion. He has already appeared in court and denied these charges.

FA Chair Debbie Hewitt

Summary Table of Allegations

Inappropriate behavior with English playersAccused of unwanted touching and kissing of Laura Coombs and Lucy Bronze
Aggression during medal ceremonyReported for aggressive and unpleasant demeanor
Non-consensual interactionAccused of forcibly kissing Jennifer Hermoso without her consent
Other inappropriate conductTapping another player inappropriately and unprofessional celebration gestures

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding Luis Rubiales reflects the challenges and ongoing efforts in safeguarding ethics in football, particularly concerning the treatment of women in the sport. While his ban is a decisive action, it also highlights the continual need for vigilance and stricter regulations in football governance.

Football Expert Sam Mollnet
reviewed by: Sam Mollnet (Footbal Expert)

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