UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has condemned Luis Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on Women’s World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso, describing it as “inappropriate” in an interview with French outlet L’Equipe on Wednesday.
Rubiales, the president of the Spanish football federation, was provisionally suspended by FIFA, global soccer’s governing body, on Saturday after he forcibly kissed Hermoso during Spain’s victory celebrations at the World Cup on August 20.
“Of course, what he did was inappropriate,” said Čeferin, who also serves as one of FIFA’s eight vice-presidents.
“We all know that. I hope he knows it was out of order. That’s enough for the time being because the disciplinary committee will decide.”
He added: “I’m sad that such an event should overshadow the victory of the Spanish national team. We should change things.”
With Rubiales banned from “all football-related activities at national and international level” for 90 days while FIFA disciplinary proceedings are underway, Čeferin said there was “no need to suspend him twice,” referring to the Spaniard’s role as a UEFA vice-president.
Speaking to the federation’s Extraordinary General Assembly on Friday, Rubiales said he will “fight to the end.”
In a defiant speech, he described the kiss as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso has denied, saying she was not respected – and spoke of “unjust” campaigns and “fake feminism.”
Along with the mounting pressure to resign, Rubiales also faces an investigation that could end in sexual aggression charges from Spanish prosecutors.
Earlier this week, all 19 of the Spanish federation’s regional presidents called for Rubiales to resign while also offering unanimous support for interim president Pedro Rocha, who stepped into the role following Rubiales’ suspension by FIFA.