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Women’s World Cup: FIFA to sanction Spanish FA president over Hermoso kiss

FIFA has, through its disciplinary committee, opened disciplinary proceedings against Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales, who kissed Jenni Hermoso after the country’s FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph in Sydney, Australia on Sunday.

Spain won their first-ever Women’s World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over England but the historic achievement has been overshadowed by controversy surrounding the kiss at the podium.

Rubiales embraced Barcelona star Hermoso during the medal presentation and kissed her on the lips, which sparked outrage, although Hermoso initially waved it off as a harmless gesture.

In a statement today, FIFA reiterated “its unwavering commitment to respecting the integrity of all individuals and strongly condemns any behaviour to the contrary.”

Hermoso initially said on social media she “didn’t like” the kiss but a statement on her behalf was later released by the federation (RFEF) in which she described it as “spontaneous”.

Rubiales, who initially called his critics ‘idiots’, issued an apology on Monday but there are persistent calls for him to resign, with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez describing the apology as ‘insufficient’.

Hermoso said in a joint statement yesterday released by her union and her agency: “My union FUTPRO, in coordination with my agency TMJ, are taking care of defending my interests and being the interlocutors on this matter.

“We are working to ensure that acts such as those we have seen never go unpunished, that they are sanctioned and that the exemplary measures are adopted to protect women footballers from actions that we believe are unacceptable.”

Global footballers union FIFPRO has also shown support for Hermoso and requested FIFA to open an investigation into Rubiales.

“We reiterate that it was deeply lamentable that such a special moment for the players of the Spain national team taking place before a global television audience should be stained by the inappropriate conduct of an individual in a role carrying so much responsibility,” the union’s statement read.

“Uninitiated and uninvited physical approaches towards players are not appropriate or acceptable in any context, and especially when they are put in a position of vulnerability by a person who holds a position of power over them in their workplace.”

The Spanish federation announced on Tuesday night it had called an extraordinary meeting of its general assembly for tomorrow, and that ‘internal proceedings’ were open in relation to integrity issues arising from the trophy ceremony.

Spain’s women’s football league, Liga F, called for Rubiales to be dismissed and said it had lodged a complaint with the president of the National Sports Council (CSD) over his ‘very serious actions and behaviour’.

“For a boss to grab his employee by the head and kiss her on the mouth simply cannot be tolerated,” it said. “The subsequent justifications are, as the prime minister described it, ‘inadequate’.”

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