An internal investigation has been launched by Spain’s football federation after its sexual violence protocol was activated.
Federation president Luis Rubiales has been suspended by Fifa after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup win.
Hermoso, 33, has said the kiss after last Sunday’s game was not consensual.
Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona, the protocol’s protection delegate, said the matter is now being investigated.
“Our protocol is currently activated and in the midst of investigating the events, thus we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved,” she said in a letter published by the federation (RFEF).
“As the protection delegate for sexual violence, my duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee.”
The protocol is activated once a complaint is submitted and means the protection delegate, a position currently held by female referee Madrona, will investigate and send her findings to the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee.
The RFEF has also called regional federations to an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting on Monday “to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself”.
When it announced it had suspended Rubiales on Saturday, Fifa ordered him, the RFEF and its officials or employees to not attempt to contact Hermoso, who the REFF had threatened with legal action earlier that day.
Despite widespread criticism and pressure to resign, 46-year-old Rubiales vowed to “fight until the end” while addressing an extraordinary general assembly called by the RFEF on Friday.
Victor Francos, Spain’s secretary of sport and head of the state-run National Sports Council, then said the government had started legal proceedings seeking to suspend Rubiales, “so that he has to give explanations before the Sport Court (TAD)”.
Spanish sports minister Miquel Iceta told newspaper El Pais: “We are going to ask the TAD to meet on Monday. If the TAD accepts the government’s complaint, we will immediately proceed with the suspension of the functions of president.”
How did the situation get to this point?
20 August – During the ceremony following the World Cup final, Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso is first embraced and then kissed on the lips by Luis Rubiales.
Hermoso later reacts to the kiss during a live stream and says she “did not enjoy” it.
21 August – Rubiales issues an apology saying he is “sorry for those who were offended” after being fiercely criticised by other footballers, the media and even by the Spanish prime minister, some of whom called on him to step down.
24 August – World football’s governing body Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings to examine Rubiales’ actions.
25 August – A defiant Rubiales insists at a RFEF emergency meeting that he will not resign, and calls the kiss “consensual”.
25 August – The Spanish government says it is beginning legal proceedings seeking to suspend Rubiales, with the Spanish secretary of sport saying he “wants this to be Spanish football’s MeToo moment”.
25 August – Later that day, Hermoso releases a statement on Instagram rebuffing Rubiales’ claims, saying that “at no time… was his kiss ever consensual”.
25 August – 81 Spanish players – including all 23 players who went to the Women’s World Cup – announce they will not play for Spain’s women’s team until Rubiales is removed from his position.
26 August – The Spanish football federation says it will take legal action over “each falsehood that is spread”.
26 August – Fifa announces it is provisionally suspending Rubiales pending the outcome of its disciplinary proceedings.
26 August – World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda criticises Rubiales while his entire coaching staff resigns in protest against the federation president.
27 August – Federation’s delegate for sexual violence protocol confirms an internal investigation into events is under way.