FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Luis Rubiales after Jenni Hermoso kiss on World Cup podium

FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Luis Rubiales after Jenni Hermoso kiss on World Cup podium

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales in relation to his conduct at the World Cup final in Sydney on Sunday.

Rubiales has faced heavy criticism after he grabbed his crotch in celebration of Spain's victory over England, while stood metres away from Spain's Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter Sofia in the stadium VIP area.

Rubiales then kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy celebration.

FIFA said in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon: “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.”

The statement 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 behaviour to the contrary.”

The sections of the disciplinary code referenced in the FIFA 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 the Hermoso kiss, but Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez described the apology as “insufficient”.

The Spanish FA has called an extraordinary general assembly on Friday in response to the matter, while confirming it has opened internal proceedings.

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 the opening of proceedings.

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.”

Rubiales is a UEFA vice-president and a member of its ruling executive committee. European football's governing body has not commented on the opening of proceedings against Rubiales, but the PA news agency understands if the Spanish federation was to dismiss Rubiales it could ask UEFA for the right to nominate a replacement.

If FIFA suspended him, Rubiales' seat on the ExCo would remain vacant until the next UEFA Congress, when a replacement would be elected. The FIFA proceedings could also hamper Spain's bid to co-host the 2030 men's World Cup finals, which Rubiales is helping to lead.

Spain is bidding alongside Portugal, Ukraine and Morocco for the centenary finals, with a decision on who will host due to be taken at an extraordinary FIFA Congress in the final quarter of next year.