Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Disgraced Spanish soccer official Luis Rubiales lost his appeal against a three-year ban for misconduct at the Women’s World Cup final including forcibly kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, FIFA said Friday.

The FIFA appeals body rarely changes verdicts of the world soccer body’s disciplinary committee but is a necessary step to pass before taking a case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA disciplinary judges cited in their October ruling that Rubiales kissed Hermoso at the trophy ceremony after Spain’s 1-0 win over England and grabbed his crotch as a victory gesture while standing close to Queen Letizia of Spain.

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld,” it said Friday.

Rubiales resigned as Spanish soccer federation president and as a UEFA vice president in September after three weeks of mostly defiance and refusing to apologize since the final in Sydney, Australia.

The FIFA appeal verdict came one day after an investigative judge in Madrid said Rubiales, a former player and union leader, must stand trial on charges of sexual assault and coercion against Hermoso. He has denied wrongdoing.

The judge also ruled that former Spain coach Jorge Vilda and two federation officials should be tried for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to defend Rubiales.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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