Women's football: Spain's sports court opens case against Rubiales over kiss

Nearly 2 weeks after Spain's football boss forced a kiss on World Cup star Jenni Hermoso during a globally televised event, he refuses to step down. The Spanish government is now upping the pressure

Luis Rubiales, chief of Spain's football federation, refuses to step down even after a FIFA ban and the federation itself calling for his resignations (photo: DW)
Luis Rubiales, chief of Spain's football federation, refuses to step down even after a FIFA ban and the federation itself calling for his resignations (photo: DW)


Spain's top administrative court for sports opened a formal case against Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) head Luis Rubiales on Friday, 1 September, over his conduct at the Women's World Cup final in Sydney, Australia.

The Spanish government, however, said the case does not go far enough and has pushed for his immediate suspension.

Rubiales sparked outrage in Spain and around the world by grabbing the face of Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso and forcibly kissing her on the lips at the televised victory ceremony.

He also gestured by grabbing his crotch when Spain beat England in the final — standing just a few feet away from Spain's Queen Letizia and her 16-year-old daughter.

What is the latest?

The Sports Administrative Tribunal (TAD) of Spain has launched a case against Rubiales over "serious" misconduct.

The court will decide whether the Spanish football president abused his authority or if he harmed Spain's reputation at a sporting event.

The designation of 'serious' is milder than some expected. If the court had opened a case into "very serious" misconduct, the country's National Sports Council (CSD) would have been able to suspend him from his role for the duration of the investigation. However, the Spanish government hopes the court will still move to provisionally suspend him from his RFEF role.

Rubiales has already been provisionally suspended by FIFA for three months, pending its own proceedings.

"When the eyes of the world were played on our players, his acts caused damage to our sport and our country that is difficult to repair," said Miquel Iceta, Spain's acting minister of culture and sport.

Rubiales defiant

Shortly after the TAD announcement, Rubiales released a statement where he decried the public outrage as a 'witch hunt' by 'false feminists'.

Rubiales has repeatedly sought to downplay his actions, even calling the kiss consensual.

Hermoso, however, has said she did not consent to the kiss and felt vulnerable and the victim of an aggression. She has also accused the Spanish Football Federation of trying to pressure her into backing Rubiales.

Players unions in Spain announced a two-match strike in the women's domestic league over the Rubiales case, as well as protesting against the treatment of female players and their pay.

The outrage over the case has overshadowed the Spanish team's historic Women's World Cup triumph, which culminated with a 1-0 victory against England on August 20.

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