Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales’ refusal to quit over his kiss on Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso is set to be tested after Fifa opened proceedings against him.
It comes on the eve of an emergency meeting of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), at which action is expected to be taken over the conduct of its president Rubiales.
The 45-year-old former footballer has faced a chorus of condemnation from government and other football figures over his unsolicited kissing of Hermoso on the lips after Sunday’s World Cup final win over England.
Until now, comment from either world governing body Fifa or its European counterpart Uefa, where Rubiales is a member of the executive committee, had been conspicuously absent.
But five days on from the incident, Fifa said 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.”
Rubiales is now facing calls to step down from all virtually all sides after casting a shadow over Spain’s first ever Women’s World Cup triumph.
He attempted to quell the storm in a video apology released on Monday, admitting he had “certainly made a mistake” but acted “without any bad intentions”.
But Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez called his apology “not enough” adding: “What we saw was an unacceptable gesture.”
Rubiales’s kiss on Hermoso has even been the subject of a criminal complaint of sexual harassment, lodged by the head of Spain’s national coaching academy Cenafe.
The RFEF is also in the dock after it was accused of fabricating quotes attributed to national record goalscorer Hermoso in which she purportedly played down the incident.
The 33-year-old’s only verifiable comment on the incident came in dressing room footage streamed on social media after the final, in which she said she “did not enjoy” the embrace.