16th July 2024
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February trial date set for Luis Rubiales over forced kiss at World Cup

A trial date has been set in February for the disgraced former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, for his unsolicited kiss on the lips of Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, the court overseeing the process said on Monday.

Rubiales, 46, provoked worldwide outrage by kissing Hermoso during the medal ceremony after Spain beat England to win the World Cup in Australia last year.

In May a court had ruled Rubiales should be tried for sexual assault over the kiss, and for the alleged coercion subsequently exerted to make her say that it was consensual, without setting a date.

The trial will be held at the Audiencia Nacional, a Madrid court in charge of complex cases, from 3-19 February, the court said in a statement.

Public prosecutors have requested a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison for Rubiales – one year for sexual assault and 18 months for coercion.

The prosecution is also asking for two years’ probation once the sentence has been served and for him to pay €50,000 in compensation to the player.

Rubiales, who is also under investigation in a separate alleged corruption case involving his reign at the federation, has denied any wrongdoing. ALSO READ: Rubiales denies wrongdoing in probe into Saudi Arabia deal for Spanish Super Cup.

Three of his former associates are also being tried for putting pressure on Hermoso: former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and federation marketing boss Ruben Rivera.

The kiss took place live in front of the world’s cameras, provoking widespread outrage and prompting his suspension by world football governing body FIFA.

At the time, Rubiales brushed it off as ‘a consensual’ peck on the lips, but Hermoso, 34, said it was not.

Under Spanish law, a non-consensual kiss can be classed as sexual assault – a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence.

Rubiales told private Spanish television station La Sexta in April that he could not understand how the kiss he gave Hermoso could be labelled as sexual assault, saying there was ‘no sexual context’ to it.

He denied accusations that he and other federation officials coerced Hermoso by pressuring her to speak out in his defence after the scandal erupted.

‘I have a clear conscience, things have been blown out of proportion,’ Rubiales said.

Hermoso filed a lawsuit against Rubiales in September, telling the judge she had come under pressure to defend him both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands. ALSO READ: Rubiales denies any wrongdoing, but is banned from going within 200 metres of Hermoso.

ALSO READ: Former Spain coach Del Bosque to head commission overseeing football federation.

ALSO READ: Rubiales briefly detained at airport on return to Spain in corruption probe.

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