Luis Rubiales, the Spanish soccer federation president who came under fire for his unsolicited kiss of midfielder Jenni Hermoso after the Women's World Cup final, will be investigated by FIFA for his actions.
The world soccer governing body announced in a statement Thursday that it opened up disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales because his actions may violate FIFA's disciplinary code. It is unclear exactly what repercussions or punishment Rubiales could face.
FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened disciplinary proceedings against Luis Rubiales. pic.twitter.com/10j3faFqPd
— Rich Laverty (@RichJLaverty) August 24, 2023
Article 13 of FIFA's code discusses "offensive behavior" such as violations of "the basic rules of decent conduct," "insulting a natural or legal person in any way, especially by using offensive gestures, signs of language," and "behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute." Rubiales' actions at the World Cup final could certainly be in violation of at least one of those rules of conduct.
He visibly kissed Hermoso on the lips after the match ended — which the Spanish midfielder later said she "didn't like," although the Spanish soccer federation released a statement claiming the embrace was "a totally spontaneous and mutual gesture." As the match ended, Rubiales grabbed his crotch in front of television cameras. And in the locker room, he told Spanish players he would marry Hermoso.
Rubiales apologized for his actions Monday and called it "a mistake" but said he believed it was "a moment of such emotion, without any bad intention or bad faith." He also reportedly "begged" Hermoso to appear in his apology video, but she refused. A day later, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez said that "apologies have not been enough," while Spanish second deputy prime minister Yolada Díaz called for Rubiales' resignation.
The Spanish players' association also called for the federation's rules on sexual assault and harassment to be applied to Rubiales. The federation will reportedly meet Friday to discuss next steps for Rubiales.