BBC mistake Pablo Zabaleta for embattled Spanish FA boss Luis Rubiales

BBC News blunder as they show clips of their own World Cup pundit Pablo Zabaleta in reports on shamed Spain FA ‘kiss-gate’ president Luis Rubiales in mix-up between bald ex-footballers

  • BBC News mistakenly used footage of Zabaleta in a clip about Rubiales 
  • The embattled Spanish FA chief has been suspended for 90 days 
  • Would Mohamed Salah ‘do the dirty’ on Liverpool by leaving? And what about Man United ‘diving’?: Listen to It’s All Kicking Off, Mail Sport’s new podcast 

The BBC have been caught up in an embarrassing blunder after using footage of former Premier League star Pablo Zabaleta in a segment about Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales.

On Saturday, Rubiales suspended by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for 90 days from all footballing activity for forcibly kissing Jennifer Hermoso following Spain’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup final.

BBC reporter Lewis Vaughan Jones introduced a news bulleting to deliver the news that the Spanish FA had called an urgent meeting to discuss the scandal engulfing its president on Monday.

But while the segment contained footage of Rubiales kissing Hermoso as players received their World Cup winners’ medals, it soon switched to a clip of Zabaleta walking alongside a colleague.

The former Manchester City and West Ham star bears a resemblance to Rubiales, but the footage erroneously showed by the BBC was taken at the draw for the 2022 World Cup.

The BBC mistook former Premier League star Pablo Zabaleta for embattled Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales (above)

The broadcaster used footage of Zabaleta (above) in a clip about Rubiales on Monday

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The FIFA and Qatar logos are both clearly visible on the wall Zabaleta walks past in the clip.

The mistake was pointed on social media by eagle-eyed viewers, prompting an apology from the BBC. 

‘A production error meant we showed the wrong image in an earlier broadcast. This has now been rectified,’ the broadcaster said in a statement.

Rubiales’ kiss has sparked much backlash with members of the Spain men’s and women’s national side last week calling for him to step down from his position. 

Hermoso said that she ‘didn’t consent’ to the kiss stating: ‘I want to clarify, that at no time did I consent to the kiss. I don’t tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I haven’t said.’

Mail Sport reported on Monday that prosecutors have opened a preliminary sex abuse investigation into the Spanish FA president.

It comes after the RFEF launched its own internal investigation into Rubiales’ conduct at the Women’s World Cup final after its sexual violence protocol was triggered. 

And as Mail Sport reported on Tuesday,  FIFA will push for Rubiales to be banned from all football for 15 years.

Spanish FA chiefs asked Rubiales to resign with immediate effect, saying his ‘unacceptable’ behaviour had caused ‘grave harm to the image of Spanish football’.

The U-turn followed a threat from FIFA to ban Spain’s national teams and elite clubs from international competition if the Spanish FA refused to accept their punishment of Rubiales.

Rubiales has been at the centre of a scandal since he forcibly kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup final earlier this month 

The former Manchester City and West Ham star bears a resemblance to Rubiales

A statement released by the Spanish FA (the RFEF) on Monday read: ‘Once the meeting of the Commission of Presidents of Regional and Territorial Federations of the RFEF has finished, the following agreements are unanimously made known to the world of football and society: 

‘After the latest events and the unacceptable behaviours that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents request Mr Luis Rubiales immediately present his resignation as president of the RFEF.

‘We warmly congratulate the women’s soccer team for their victory in the World Cup. We value the meaning and legacy of success for Spanish sport. 

‘We express our admiration and gratitude to an unrepeatable group of players and we extend our congratulations to all those who have built, over the years with determination, the growth of women’s football.’

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