Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to the conduct of the Spanish football association president, Luis Rubiales, in relation to his conduct at the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.
Rubiales has faced heavy criticism after he kissed Spain player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips during the trophy celebration. He also grabbed his crotch while celebrating Spain’s 1-0 victory over England, while standing metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter, Sofia.
“The Fifa disciplinary committee informed Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish FA, 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 20 August 2023,” a statement from world football’s governing body said.
“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 behaviour to the contrary.”
The sections of the disciplinary code referenced in its statement cover “offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play”. The code cites examples of behaviour which could lead to disciplinary measures being taken, including “insulting a natural or legal person in any way, especially by using offensive gestures, signs or language” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or Fifa into disrepute”.
Rubiales issued an apology via video on Monday for kissing Hermoso, but the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez described the apology as “insufficient”. The Spanish FA has called an extraordinary general assembly for Friday in response to the matter, while confirming it has opened internal proceedings.
The world players’ union, Fifpro, had called on Fifa to open proceedings against Rubiales in a statement issued on Wednesday. It has been approached for comment following Thursda’s announcement.
On the same evening as Fifpro’s statement, the Futpro union in Spain, which Hermoso has said is representing her interests in this case, expressed its “firm and resounding condemnation” for behaviour “which violates the dignity of women” in its own statement.
“From our association we ask the Spanish FA to implement the necessary protocols and ensure the rights of our players and adopt exemplary measures,” Futpro said. “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.”