Advertisement

Spanish prosecutors accuse Rubiales of sexual assault

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Spanish prosecutors accuse Rubiales of sexual assault
Spanish prosecutors accuse Rubiales of sexual assault. Photo: RFEF / AFP

Spanish public prosecutors demanded Friday that suspended football chief Luis Rubiales be indicted for sexual assault over his unsolicited kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso at the Women's World Cup final.

Advertisement

Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Rubiales, 46, sparked a worldwide backlash after forcibly kissing Hermoso during the medal ceremony following Spain's Women's World Cup triumph in Sydney on August 20th.

"The prosecutors request that Luis Rubiales be questioned as an accused (party) and Jenni Hermoso as a victim," the prosecutors office said in a statement.

The move comes after Hermoso, 33, filed a complaint at the National Court on Tuesday, formally accusing Rubiales of sexual assault.

A judge at the court must now decide whether to accept or archive the request.

If the judge accepts the request, a magistrate will be assigned to head an investigation which will end either with a recommendation for the case to go to trial or be dismissed.

Under Spanish law, sexual assault includes a wide array of crimes from online abuse and groping to rape, each with different penalties. The punishment for a non-consensual kiss can range from a fine to four years in prison.

READ ALSO: What are the rules of kissing in Spain?

Advertisement

Hermoso, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, has said the unwanted kiss had left her feeling "vulnerable and like the victim of an assault", with a statement on social media describing it as "an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part".

She has also accused Rubiales of pressuring her to speak out in his defense immediately after the scandal over the kiss erupted, which prosecutors said could be considered a crime of coercion.

Rubiales insists the kiss was consensual.

World football governing body FIFA provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days after he refused to resign from his post.

Some 81 players went on strike from the women's side in protest after Rubiales' fierce defensive speech following the incident, in which he railed against "false feminism".

They said they would not return until the RFEF's leadership was changed - controversial women's coach Jorge Vilda was sacked this week.

Advertisement

Spain's top sports court (TAD) also agreed to investigate Rubiales after the government lodged a complaint.

However, the suspended chief said he would continue to defend himself "to prove the truth" over his kiss with Hermoso.

In a statement last week Rubiales reiterated that the kiss was "a mutual and consensual act" with "overflowing jubilation on both sides".

The RFEF apologised for the "totally unacceptable behaviour" of Rubiales on Tuesday and fired Vilda on Tuesday in the wake of the scandal.

Vilda's former assistant Montserrat Tomé is the new coach - it is the first time a woman has led the team.

The world champions' next matches are in Nations League qualifying against
Sweden and Switzerland on September 22nd and 26th respectively.

More

Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also