FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales

Luis Rubiales hugs Spain's Aitana Bonmati during the World Cup presentation ceremony.
Luis Rubiales hugs Spain's Aitana Bonmati during the World Cup presentation ceremony. Credit: AP

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

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.

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

FIFA said in a statement issued on Thursday: "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."

FIFA's 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".

Luis Rubiales (left) has faced heavy criticism for his actions at the World Cup final. Credit: AP

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".

FIFA can impose sanctions on individuals ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions from the sport.

Rubiales, who is also a member of UEFA's ruling executive committee and a vice-president of European football's governing body, issued an apology on Monday.

His statement focused on the Hermoso kiss and did not reference his behaviour near to Queen Letizia and her daughter.

"There is something I regret, and it was what happened between me and a player, with whom I have a fantastic relationship, just like with the others, where I have certainly made a mistake. I have to admit it," Rubiales said.

"In that moment of absolute exultation, without any bad intentions or bad faith, well… that happened.

"I believe it happened in a very spontaneous way, which I repeat had no bad intentions from either side.

"From that point on, it wasn't interpreted that way as we carried on as normal, naturally, and again with no ill will between us.

"But outside of that it seems like it has caused a commotion as it seemed to do damage, so I want to apologise for it, I don't ask for anything else."

The Spanish FA, meanwhile, 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.

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.

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