Maja Hitij – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales has been suspended by FIFA for kissing Jenni Hermoso after Spain’s victory in the World Cup without her consent.
FIFA announced the 90-day suspension for Rubiales “from all football-related activities at national and international level” and pending the results of “disciplinary proceedings” that were opened against him on Aug. 24.
In the midst of Spain’s celebration following its 1-0 win over England in the World Cup final, Rubiales held Hermoso’s head in his hands and kissed her on the mouth.
Amid pressure to resign following his actions, Rubiales refused and claimed the kiss was consensual during a speech on Friday.
ESPN.com’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez provided a transcript of Rubiales’ speech:
“My desire in that moment was exactly the same as if I’d have been kissing one of my daughters. No more or less. Everybody understands that. It was a spontaneous kiss, mutual, euphoric and consensual. That’s the key.
“[Hermoso] had missed a penalty. I have a great relationship with all the players. … In the moment that Jenni arrived, she lifted me up off the ground. We almost fell over. We hugged. I said, ‘Forget about the penalty, you’ve been fantastic, we wouldn’t have won the World Cup without you.’ She said: ‘You’re great.’ I said, ‘A kiss?’ and she said: ‘Yes.’
“From ‘no big deal’ and all that, then the pressure starts, the silence of the player and a statement [from Hermoso] that I don’t understand. Justice isn’t being done here. This is a social assassination of me, they’re trying to kill me.”
In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Hermoso disputed Rubiales’ words as “categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated” and she wanted to “make it clear that at no time” did the conversation he referred to take place, nor was the kiss consensual.
ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens originally reported that Rubiales was going to resign from his position at his Friday press conference before he defiantly refused.
A separate statement from Hermoso released by her union, FUTPRO (h/t Kirkland and Faez), was co-signed by all the other members of Spain’s World Cup squad and 58 former players, and said they would not return to play for the national team as long as Rubiales remains in his position.