FIFA Advocates for a 15-Year Ban on Rubiales: A Blow to Spanish Football

FIFA has taken a firm stance against Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), calling for his expulsion from all football-related activities for a staggering 15 years. This decision comes after the RFEF abruptly withdrew its support for Rubiales, citing his “unacceptable” behavior that has caused significant damage to the image of Spanish football.

The FIFA’s change in position followed a threat to ban Spanish national teams and elite clubs from international competitions if the RFEF refused to accept the punishment imposed on Rubiales. Sources familiar with the disciplinary process have revealed that the FIFA is pressuring for a ban of up to 15 years, the maximum allowed under its statutes. This would have allowed the FIFA to take action against Spanish national teams and clubs if the sentence had been challenged.

Rubiales, who recently received a provisional 90-day suspension from the FIFA, retained the backing of the RFEF pending the outcome of an internal investigation into his conduct. The investigation was initiated after Rubiales was seen kissing Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final. However, following a five-hour meeting on Monday, the RFEF confirmed that Rubiales had been asked to resign.

It has also come to light that one of Rubiales’ final acts before his suspension was instructing the RFEF to write to UEFA, complaining about government interference and requesting the suspension of the federation. This would have resulted in the automatic exclusion of Spanish national teams and clubs from European competitions. However, UEFA rejected the request, stating that the disciplinary process was being handled by the FIFA, and now deems the letter invalid since Rubiales has been replaced by an interim president, Pedro Rocha.

In a fiery statement released over the weekend, the RFEF, under Rubiales’ leadership, also accused Hermoso of spreading lies. “The RFEF and the president will expose each and every lie being spread, either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself,” read the statement. This accusation was met with indignation by Hermoso.

Considering Rubiales’ behavior after the World Cup final in Sydney, where he was seen grabbing his crotch just meters away from Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter, it is likely that the FIFA will impose a lengthy ban on him. The FIFA’s disciplinary committee has gathered statements from eyewitnesses before announcing Rubiales’ suspension from all football-related activities at both national and international levels. The committee holds the authority to ban him from any involvement in the sport for a period of 15 years.

According to the FIFA statutes, any ban would have extended to all Spanish national teams and clubs participating in FIFA-affiliated competitions if it had not been accepted by the RFEF. Such a ban would have dealt a severe blow to UEFA, as Spain boasts five clubs in this year’s Men’s Champions League, two in the Europa League, and one in the Europa Conference League. Furthermore, Barcelona is the reigning champion of the Women’s Champions League.

The FIFA’s call for a 15-year ban on Rubiales reflects its commitment to upholding the integrity and reputation of football. This decision will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences for Spanish football, affecting not only Rubiales but also the national teams and clubs associated with the RFEF. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how this controversy will shape the future of Spanish football and its relationship with international football governing bodies.

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