Rubiales loses FIFA appeal against 3-year ban

January 28 – Hard on the heels of a Spanish judge’s ruling that former Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales will face a criminal trial for sexual harassment, FIFA’s appeal committee has upheld Rubiales’ ban from national and international football.

Rubiales had appealed his three-year ban by FIFA over the kiss he forced on Women’s World Cup star Jenni Hermoso without her consent.

“After analysing the submissions presented to it and conducting a hearing, the Appeal Committee decided to dismiss the appeal, and to confirm the sanction imposed upon Mr Rubiales. Amongst other considerations, the Appeal Committee was comfortably satisfied that Mr Rubiales behaved in a manner contrary to the principles enshrined under article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code during and after the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said a FIFA statement.

Spanish judge Francisco de Jorge of Spain’s top criminal court concluded that the kiss “was not consensual and was a unilateral and unexpected move” by Rubiales, who is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion that will go to trail.

FIFA interpret Rubiales’ behaviour similarly, but are not going any deeper into the incident or what happened subsequently.

Spain’s de Jorge has proposed putting three others on trial for subsequently exerting pressure on Hermoso, “to make a public statement confirming the kiss was consensual”: former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing boss Ruben Rivera.

The judge said he had found evidence of “a concerted effort” by Vilda, Luque and Rivera, in agreement with Rubiales, “to persuade Jennifer Hermoso and get her to agree to make a video saying the kiss was consensual”.

During the incident on August 20 after Spain beat England to win the Women’s World Cup final in Australia, Rubiales held Hermoso’s head in both hands and forcibly kissed her on the lips.

He has described the act as “a consensual peck” but Hermoso has insisted it was not.

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