The Spanish soccer official who provoked a players’ rebellion and reckoning on gender when he kissed an unwilling star player on the lips at the Women’s World Cup final trophy ceremony was banned for three years on Monday by the sport’s global governing body.
Luis Rubiales’ conduct at the Aug. 20 final in Australia — and his defiant refusal to resign as Spanish soccer federation president for three weeks — distracted many people from the women’s career-defining title win.
Spanish authorities have launched a criminal investigation against Rubiales for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the team’s 1-0 victory over England in Sydney, and his conduct in the fallout from the scandal.
Rubiales denied wrongdoing to a judge in Madrid who imposed a restraining order for him not to contact Hermoso, the record goal scorer for the Spain women’s team.
FIFA has said it was investigating whether Rubiales violated “basic rules of decent conduct” and “behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrepute.”