Luis Rubiales, the embattled former president of Spain’s soccer federation, has been banned from the sport for three years by FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, the Associated Press reports. The news comes after it was determined that he acted in breach of conduct during the World Cup final when he kissed a player allegedly without her consent after Spain’s win.
On Aug. 20 at the final in Sydney, Australia against England, Rubiales kissed forward Jennifer Hermoso on the lips as the Spanish national women’s team celebrated its historic first World Cup win. Hermoso spoke out about the moment afterward, saying the kiss was unwanted. “I want to clarify that, as seen in the images, at no time did I consent to the kiss that he gave me, and, of course, in no case did I lift the president. I do not tolerate my word being questioned and much less that they invent words I never said.”
Shortly after the incident, international soccer’s governing body, FIFA, suspended him from “all football-related activities at national and international level” for 90 days. Meanwhile, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF)’s regional members unanimously called for him to step down.
Rubiales had issued a half-baked apology the day after the incident, but refused to acquiesce for calls for his resignation until three weeks later on Sept. 10. “After being suspended by FIFA, and the other proceedings against me, it’s evident I can’t return to the position,” Rubiales said in a statement at the time. “Insisting on waiting and holding on is not going to contribute to anything positive, neither to the federation nor to Spanish football.”
Rubiales is now barred from working in soccer until after the men’s 2026 World Cup. The ban is set to life before the next women’s tournament in 2027.
Beyond the banning, Spanish authorities have launched a criminal investigation into his actions and formally accused him of sexual assault and coercion. Hermoso has said Rubiales pressured her to defend him as criticism mounted against him. Last month, Rubiales denied any wrongdoing to a judge who issued a restraining order that prohibits him from contacting Hermoso.