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FIFA suspends Spanish soccer boss amid probe of his outrageous World Cup antics

Defiant Spanish Soccer Federation president Luis Rubiales insists he has nothing to apologise for – but that’s not how FIFA sees things.

Soccer’s supreme global body has stepped into the controversy sparked by Rubiales planting an unwanted kiss on the lips of a player after his national team won the Women’s World Cup in Sydney.

FIFA has ordered him to stand down while its disciplinary committee investigates his conduct, which also included grabbing his crotch in a  display of machismo.

FIFA said Rubiales is removed from soccer duties for 90 days “pending the disciplinary proceedings opened” against him.

Rubiales refused to resign from his soccer presidency Friday local time at an emergency meeting where he had been expected to leave under intense pressure from the Spanish government, women players plus soccer clubs and officials.

FIFA has given no timetable for a ruling by its disciplinary panel.

The body’s disciplinary judges can impose sanctions on individuals ranging from warnings and fines to suspensions from the sport.

FIFA’s move came after the Spanish federation had even threatened action against star player Jenni Hermoso for refusing to accept Rubiales’s version of the kiss that happened at the on-field medal and trophy presentation after Spain’s 1-0 win against England last Sunday in Sydney.

FIFA’s suspension should prevent Rubiales working in soccer or having contact with other officials.

FIFA disciplinary judge Jorge Palacio also intervened on Saturday to protect the “fundamental rights” of Hermoso and the integrity of the disciplinary case.

Palacio ordered Rubiales “to refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact the professional player of the Spanish national football team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Likewise, the RFEF (Spanish soccer federation) and its officials or employees, directly or through third parties, are ordered to refrain from contacting the professional player of the Spanish national team Ms Jennifer Hermoso and her close environment,” FIFA said.

Palacio is a Colombian lawyer and former member of its constitutional court who has worked in women’s rights.

‘This is over’

Before their game with Girona on Saturday, players from Sevilla’s men’s team wore T-shirts with the message, “This is over,” echoing words Hermoso’s teammate and two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas posted on social media.

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez condemned Rubiales’ behaviour during a pre-game media conference. “It’s totally unacceptable,” he said.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and other clubs issued statements criticising Rubiales and backing the government’s move to oust him. The European players’ union and Spain’s women’s league both backed Hermoso.

Political parties from both the left and right in Spain said Rubiales was unfit to continue in his post. Iberia airlines and other sponsors for the federation said they were with the government as well.

Rubiales holds the No.3-ranking elected position in UEFA, the European governing body. UEFA pays him A$420,000 annually, plus expenses.

Neither UEFA nor its president, Aleksander Ceferin, has commented on the Rubiales scandal.

— AAP

Topics: FIFA
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