UEFA president finds it illogical to prosecute Spain soccer official Rubiales for a World Cup kiss.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has suggested that prosecuting Spanish soccer official Luis Rubiales for kissing a Women’s World Cup-winning player on the lips without her consent appears to be “completely illogical.”
Spanish prosecutors are currently conducting an investigation into the allegations made by Jenni Hermoso against Rubiales. She accuses him of sexual assault for the kiss that occurred during the final on August 20th, as well as coercion for subsequently pressuring her to defend him.
Rubiales was issued a restraining order on Friday by a judge in Madrid, preventing him from being within 200 meters (656 feet) of Hermoso. During the closed-door hearing, Rubiales refuted both allegations.
Ceferin, who was a criminal defense lawyer before being elected UEFA president in 2016, said in an interview published Sunday in his native Slovenia that “what Rubiales did was inappropriate and not understandable.”
“I cannot reword”
Rubiales received a barrage of criticism from both the Spanish government and the soccer community. This was partly due to his defiance and refusal to step down as the president of the national soccer federation, even after FIFA initiated an investigation and subsequently suspended him.
Last year, Spain implemented a sexual consent law that abolished the distinction between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault.” If Rubiales is taken to court, he may be subject to a fine or imprisonment ranging from one to four years if proven guilty of sexual assault.
Ceferin advised Rubiales to resign, and on September 10, three weeks after Spain’s women won the world championship, Rubiales did step down from his positions as president of the federation and vice president of UEFA.
UEFA released its initial official statement regarding Rubiales a day later, acknowledging his resignation and the subsequent public discussion surrounding his actions. The statement also expressed gratitude for his contributions to European soccer throughout the years.
Ceferin’s interview with N1 was his second public comment on the scandal in the past month. The first was 10 days after the final, telling French daily L’Equipe the conduct was inappropriate and UEFA must do more for women players.
Ceferin expressed to the N1 reporter that the media played a crucial role in elevating the significance of this story.
Ceferin mentioned that discussions have taken place regarding the development of a set of guidelines to establish more defined boundaries for acceptable conduct in women’s soccer. Additionally, he anticipated that UEFA would increase the representation of women officials within the organization.
On Friday, the president of UEFA conducted an interview during a charity soccer game in Llubljana. The game was organized by him and featured retired soccer legends, who played to raise funds for the recovery efforts following the floods in Slovenia last month.
UEFA had previously contributed 300,000 euros ($320,000) towards flood relief efforts in Slovenia, and it is reported that the game generated over 3 million euros ($3.2 million).
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