FOOTBALL – The case surrounding Luis Rubiales, the suspended president of the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF), is taking a new twist. His kiss with world champion Jenni Hermoso is classed as only a “serious violation,” not a “very serious violation.”
That is the judgment of the Tribunal Administrativo del Deporte (TAD). This means that the Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD), Spain’s highest sports council, cannot provisionally suspend Rubiales.
Small shift, big consequences
The TAD found that Rubiales had committed two ‘serious violations. As a result of which disciplinary proceedings were opened against him. Moreover, the TAD’s decision has direct consequences for the plans of the Spanish government. But because Rubiales has not been charged with abuse of power, which would be considered a ‘very serious offense’, the suspension by the CSD cannot go ahead. A possible suspension in this case would also last a maximum of two years.
The Spanish government issued a statement saying it regretted the TAD’s decision. Miquel Iceta, the Minister of Culture and Sports, says he will take immediate action and has asked the TAD to temporarily suspend Rubiales.
Rubiales, who has labelled the allegations a “political and media lynching,” released a statement after the TAD ruling. In it, he again emphasised that the kiss with Hermoso was “mutual and consensual”, and the result of the “great joy and spontaneity” after winning the world championship.
The TAD’s decision has also sparked public outrage. In several Spanish cities, including Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, people took to the streets on Friday to protest what they see as a shameful decision. “Down with Rubiales and the male mafia. Down with rape culture,” read the banner at a protest in Madrid.