Luis Rubiales Given Three Year Ban by FIFA
Trigger warning – this article refers to themes of sexual assault and coercion.
Luis Rubiales, the former Spanish Football Association President (RFEF), has today been handed a three year ban by FIFA from ‘all football-related activities’. This action follows his non-consensual kiss with Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup trophy presentation which sent shock waves around the footballing world.
In FIFA’s constitution it has been decided that Rubiales clearly breached Article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary code and this finding has further built on his initial 90-day provisional suspension.
The overall situation up until this point regarding the Spanish Football Association has by no means been straightforward. Luis Rubiales disputed the nature of the kiss claiming it to be consensual, a statement that contravenes Jenni Hermoso’s own account of the situation.
Furthermore, after public backlash and an initial refusal to resign, Rubiales eventually did step down from his role in Spanish football in September.
FIFA’s ban therefore provides clarity and a strong sense of retribution for women’s football after the event overshadowed the triumph of Spain winning their first ever Women’s World Cup.
A break down of the ban itself
It is important to note Rubiales’ ban is purely related to FIFA, as a criminal investigation by Spanish authorities are still being deliberated over and investigated.
The national court in Madrid has been considering criminal sexual assault and coercion charges which could obviously lead to much harsher and serious repercussions.
In FIFA’s powers however, Rubiales will remain banned from all FIFA operations both on a national and international basis. Therefore, this completely severs the relationship with the Spaniard for the defined period.
Under Article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code the actions clearly trigger several prongs of the prohibited conduct.
These include generally violating ‘basic rules of decent conduct’ to ‘behaving in a way that brings the sport of football and/or FIFA into disrupt’ which are listed in the code.
Despite Rubiales’ conduct strongly contravening the FIFA Disciplinary code, there is an option for its appeal as stated by FIFA. This would then trigger a lengthy process under the FIFA Appeals Committee. Nevertheless, we will have to see if Rubiales chooses to go down this route.
More immediately Rubiales’ has 10 days to request a ‘motivated decision’ that will explain the precise rationale behind the ban more comprehensively and will be published publicly.
The ban, whilst being what seems like the final chapter of this ongoing situation, is not the definitive end depending on Rubiales’ response.
The wider symbolism for women’s football
FIFA’s official repercussion on the incident that took place over three months ago does symbolise a significant change in women’s football.
Football as a sport has been entrenched with masculine values and control since its early origins. FIFA’s ban for Rubiales’ is immensely important in discontinuing this trend and supports not only Jenni Hermoso but all female football players.
The ban will hopefully instil greater confidence in female players to stand against gender adversity as they are now backed on a legal footing through this example.
Following the Spanish team’s boycotts, Jenni Hermoso returned to the Spanish national team on Friday for her first game back against Italy. She snatched the deciding goal in the 89th minute to secure a 1-0 and send a reminder to the footballing world of her resilience and strength despite an overwhelming few months.
The Spanish Football Association remains troubled with issues regarding sexism, nonetheless, Jenni Hermoso’s battle is a beacon of hope which can influence further positive change for women’s football.
For more articles surrounding women’s football make sure to read Eve Miller’s article – Leveling the pitch: Women’s football in a sexist world.