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Rubiales loses appeal against three-year ban for misconduct


Former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has lost his appeal against a three-year ban for misconduct, FIFA has said.

Rubiales stepped down from his position last September after kissing Spain's Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the on-pitch medal ceremony following their Women's World Cup final win over England on August 20.

FIFA disciplinary judges cited in their October ruling that Rubiales kissed Hermoso 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," the statement said.

The FIFA appeal verdict comes one day after an investigative judge in Madrid said Rubiales 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.

The incident in Australia overshadowed Spain's World Cup success in August.

A statement issued by the press office of the Audiencia Nacional court read: "The judge of the Audiencia Nacional Francisco de Jorge has proposed to try the former president of the Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales for the non-consensual kiss to the player of the Spanish national team Jennifer Hermoso after the final of the last World Cup, held on August 20 in Sydney (Australia).

"The magistrate also proposes to try Rubiales, along with the sports director of the men's team, Albert Luque, the former coach of the women's team Jorge Vilda and the former head of marketing of the federation Ruben Rivera for the subsequent pressure to which the player was subjected to agree to make a public statement affirming that the kiss had been consensual.

"In the order to move to an abbreviated procedure, in which the investigation is concluded considering that all the pertinent steps have been taken, the judge concludes that the kiss to the player 'was not consensual and was a unilateral and unexpected move' by Rubiales."

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