Spain’s highest court which deals with issues related to sports law on Friday decided football federation President Luis Rubiales’ forced kiss with forward Jenni Hermoso did not constitute a “very grave” violation of Spanish law.
By opening an investigation into Rubiales for only a “grave” violation, as opposed to a more serious breach of the country’s Sports Law, the Administrative Tribunal for Sport made it impossible for the autonomous government agency that oversees all sporting activities in Spain to suspend the disgraced federation chief until a final verdict is issued.
Secretary of State for Sport Víctor Francos, who presides over the country’s High Council for Sport, told Spanish media that the body would nonetheless request the court suspend Rubiales provisionally.
The tribunal’s decision is a serious blow to Spain’s caretaker left-wing coalition government. Over the course of the week Deputy Prime Minister Teresa Ribera, Equality Minister Irene Montero and Culture and Sport Minister Miquel Iceta vowed Madrid would take action to ensure that Rubiales would get the boot as soon as possible.
For now, only the 90-day suspension imposed by global football governing body FIFA’s disciplinary committee prevents Rubiales from presiding over the football federation. If FIFA decides to not take further action, the Spaniard could theoretically resume his position at the end of November.
But the country’s administrative mechanisms have proven inefficient and the national football federation is unwilling to take action on its own. Rather than censure and fire Rubiales, regional federation presidents earlier this week opted to request the FA boss’ resignation, days after he defiantly announced he was going nowhere.
Similar efforts to remove Jorge Vilda, the head coach of the country’s national women’s team who was seen cheering Rubiales on during the fiery speech in which he decried “the scourge of false feminism,” have also have gone nowhere.
Although Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s football team stated it will not play under his leadership, and his entire technical staff has resigned, the coach officially remains in post.
Luis de la Fuente, the head coach of Spain’s national men’s football team, on Friday similarly declined to resign his post despite public outcry over the standing ovation he gave Rubiales after his tirade against political correctness.
The coach did, however, apologize for his “inexcusable” applause, for which he said he deserved to be criticized.
“Anyone who knows me knows that these gestures do not represent my values, nor my way of thinking or acting in life,” de la Fuente said. “I have always been on the side of equality and respect.”