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Luis Rubiales accused by FA Chair of inappropriately touching England players at World Cup final

By Sammy Mncwabe, CNN

(CNN) — English Football Association (FA) chair Debbie Hewitt accused Luis Rubiales of inappropriately touching England players at the FIFA World Cup final in Australia.

The claims became public on Wednesday after FIFA published its reasons for banning the disgraced former Royal Spanish Football Federation president from “all football-related activities” for three years – a decision handed down in October.

Hewitt, who was standing next to Rubiales at the post-match medal ceremony in August, made a series of claims noting his tone had been “unpleasant and unnecessarily aggressive” at being told by officials not to move to a more prominent position.

According to FIFA, Hewitt said Rubiales “cupped and stroked the face of the English player Laura Coombs, which [the chair of the FA] thought was slightly odd and then he seemingly forcefully kissed the English player Lucy Bronze on her face.”

‘Deeply uncomfortable’

Hewitt added she “felt deeply uncomfortable and embarrassed” at the way Rubiales greeted the Spanish players, which included tapping one on the bottom.

She also noted Rubiales kissing Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso “fully and forcibly on the mouth,” which left her “slightly shocked” as it was clear to Hewitt the incident was not consensual.

“The aggression and force seemed inappropriate and out of place,” added Hewitt.

Rubiales, 46, had described the kiss as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso denied, saying she did not consent and was not respected.

In his response, according to FIFA, Rubiales said it was “disgusting” Hewitt depicted him as “some sort of creep,” accused her of blatant “lies,” said she “speaks from ignorance” and that her overall statement “does a disservice to her position as chair of the English FA.”

FIFA dismissed Rubiales’ assessment in conclusion, saying it had no reason to doubt Hewitt’s observations.

It also noted that at no time did Rubiales explicitly apologize for his actions, instead merely stating they “should not have happened.”

Rubiales was also seen grabbing his crotch while celebrating Spain’s win, the decision states.

The disciplinary panel said Rubiales’ behavior was “inexcusable and unacceptable.”

The Committee stressed “it was tempted to impose more severe sanctions in view of the seriousness and gravity of the incidents at stake as well as of the profound negative impact that the Respondents actions had on the image of FIFA, women’s football and women’s sport in general.

“However and even with strong hesitations, the Disciplinary Committee was satisfied that the imposition of such a measure would serve the necessary deterrent effect upon the Respondent.”

Rubiales is currently under investigation for “the crimes of sexual assault and coercion,” in a case being brought by Spanish prosecutors. He resigned in September after weeks of refusing to step down.

He appeared in court last month after which the Spanish Prosecutor’s office said Rubiales had answered questions from the judge and all parties involved and denied the charges.

In response to his three year ban, Rubiales said on social media in October that he was going to appeal FIFA’s decision “so that justice is served and the truth shines.”

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