A Spanish court on Friday agreed to open a case against Spanish Football Federation chief Luis Rubiales for kissing a women’s soccer player at the World Cup final, but the court said it only considered the potential offense “serious” as opposed to “very serious” — a setback for the Spanish government, which now cannot immediately suspend Rubiales, according to multiple outlets.
The Spanish government is seeking to suspend Rubiales, who kissed Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso after her team won the World Cup in August — a kiss Hermoso later state was unwanted — prompting a global controversy over Rubiales’ future.
The decision provoked the Spanish government to request a separate temporary suspension of Rubiales, which will go through the same court that handed down the “serious” ruling Friday.
The court will now continue its own investigation into Rubiales’ conduct.
Rubiales, who is currently under a 90-day suspension issued by FIFA, said in a statement Friday he would continue to defend himself to “prove the reality of what happened,” adding he’s recently suffered “an unprecedented political and media lynching.”
Rubiales has received public and regulatory backlash for kissing Hermoso. The forward received support from fellow players on the Spain women’s national football team who said they refuse to play further matches until Rubiales resigns. Rubiales has defended himself against widespread criticism, claiming in August the kiss, delivered after the team won the Women’s World Cup, was consensual and that he was the victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists.” The soccer chief is currently serving a 90-day suspension issued by FIFA, which also ordered Rubiales to “refrain, through himself or third parties,” from contacting Hermoso.
FIFA Suspends Spanish Soccer President Luis Rubiales After Kissing Player Without Consent (Forbes)
Spain Women’s Soccer Team Will Refuse To Play Until Soccer Chief Resigns For Kissing Player (Forbes)
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