Spanish gov’t moves to oust Rubiales amid World Cup kiss row

Madrid, Aug 29 (EFE) Spain’s government will request the full suspension of soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales, Spain’s culture and sports minister said on Tuesday.

Rubiales, who has been suspended from all soccer related activities by Fifa for 90 days, has been facing mounting criticism both in Spain and abroad after he kissed forward Jennifer Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s World Cup final win against England.

“Once the complaint (against Rubiales) is admitted for processing we will be able to convene the National Sports Council board within 48 hours, where we will propose the suspension of the former president until the final resolution of the Court,” Miqel Iceta told a press conference after a Council of Ministers meeting.

The minister said the process began Monday and that the government “hopes and expects that a decision will be made as soon as possible.”

“The Government is moving forward with diligence and firmly, we all want this matter to be resolved as soon as possible, but we must ensure that it is done with rigor and legal guarantees to avoid an appeal that could revoke any decisions that are taken,” Iceta added.

The news comes a day after regional leaders of Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF) called on Rubiales to resign from his position immediately.

In a statement published late on Monday the regional leaders condemned the “recent events and unacceptable behaviors that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish soccer.”

The RFEF has also moved to suspend Rubiales’ employment and salary of 634,518.19 euros, although this was not included in the joint statement due to a lack of consensus among regional leaders.

At a RFEF general assembly on Friday last week, Rubiales refused to step down from his position as the organization’s president and claimed the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual and consensual.”

Rubiales added that he was the target of “false feminism” seeking his “social assassination”.

Hermoso responded to Rubiales’ refusal to quit via the soccer players’ union Futpro saying she did not consent to the kiss and that during the incident she felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression.”

The striker went on to describe the kiss as “an impulsive, sexist, out-of-place act without any kind of consent on my part.”

Meanwhile in Rubiales’ hometown of Motril in southern Spain, his mother Ángeles Béjar was on the second day of a hunger strike and lockdown in a local church to demand justice for her son.

Sources close to the family told Efe Béjar was in good condition having spent the night well and that she intends to remain inside the church indefinitely.

BY Nadeem Faisal Baiga