14th April 2024
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Luis Rubiales to face trial for kissing Jenni Hermoso at Women’s World Cup

Luis Rubiales, former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), will face trial for kissing the player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the awards ceremony at the FIFA Women’s World Cup last year, an investigative judge in Madrid said on Thursday.

Judge Francisco de Jorge ruled that his investigation points to Rubiales’ kiss ‘being unconsented and carried out unilaterally and in a surprising fashion’, the court statement said.

State prosecutors have accused Rubiales of sexual assault and for allegedly coercing Hermoso to publicly support him in the public backlash against him.

Despite initially claiming he was the victim of a campaign led by ‘false feminists’, Rubiales eventually resigned from his post for his behaviour during the trophy ceremony in Sydney in August. He has denied any wrongdoing. ALSO READ: Rubiales denies any wrongdoing, but is banned from going within 200 metres of Hermoso.

The judge also ruled that along with Rubiales, former Spain coach Jorge Vilda, sports director of Spain’s men’s team Albert Luque, and the federation former head of marketing should be tried for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to defend Rubiales, a step she refused to take.

The trial date is be determined.

Hermoso testified before the investigative judge in January. The 33-year-old forward, Spain’s all-time leading scorer who plays in the Mexican league, has been widely supported in the country. The kiss scandal has many hoping it will spur a reckoning with sexism in sports. ALSO READ: Hermoso gives testimony in sexual assault case after kiss at World Cup final.

Based on a sexual consent law passed in 2022, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty, according to the prosecutors’ office in Madrid. The new law eliminated the difference between ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘sexual assault’, sanctioning any unconsented sexual act.

FIFA banned Rubiales for three years until after the men’s 2026 World Cup. His ban will expire before the next women’s tournament in 2027. Spain’s sports authority also ruled him unfit to hold a post in sports management for three years. ALSO READ: FIFA bans Rubiales for 3 years for kiss & misconduct at Women’s World Cup Final.

ALSO READ: Spanish Football Federation confirms resignation of Luis Rubiales.

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