FIFA has imposed a three-year ban on former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales due to misconduct at the Women’s World Cup final. During the trophy ceremony, Rubiales forcibly kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, leading to his suspension.
The incident occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on August 20, 2023. FIFA’s disciplinary committee investigated the matter, focusing on charges related to “basic rules of decent conduct” and behavior that could bring football and FIFA into disrepute. However, FIFA did not publicly disclose specific details of the verdict.
Rubiales is also under criminal investigation in Spain for the same incident. He has denied wrongdoing but was subjected to a restraining order preventing him from contacting Hermoso.
In addition to the kiss, Rubiales faced further scrutiny for his behavior. He was seen making a victory gesture by grabbing his crotch at the final whistle in Sydney, where he was seated near Queen Letizia of Spain and Princess Sofia. Moreover, he was cited for carrying Spanish player Athenea del Castillo over his shoulder during post-match celebrations.
Witness tampering risks involving Rubiales and his associates were also considered, leading to the interim ban being confirmed to extend beyond the next men’s World Cup in 2026. Rubiales resigned from his positions in football in September, relinquishing the federation presidency he had held since 2018.
Upon his resignation, Rubiales also gave up his vice presidency of UEFA, which paid him an annual salary of 250,000 euros. UEFA later acknowledged his service.
Rubiales’ resignation was coordinated with Spain’s bid to host the men’s 2030 World Cup, which was subsequently selected by FIFA as the sole candidate for the 2030 tournament, now joined by Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
Rubiales has the option to request details of the FIFA disciplinary verdict and can file an appeal within 10 days. Further appeals can be made at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.