Player Accuses Kissing FA Prez Of Sexual Assault

Luis Rubiales has been criticised for kissing footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips


Spain’s Jenni Hermoso has accused Luis Rubiales of sexual assault for kissing her on the lips without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final, the country’s prosecutors’ office said on Wednesday.

Sources close to the Spain forward, who plays her club football for Mexican side Pachuca, confirmed to ESPN that she has pressed charges.

Rubiales, the now-suspended President of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), kissed Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney.

In addition to facing criminal charges, Rubiales remains the subject of ongoing probes by Spain’s top sport court (TAD) and by world governing body FIFA.

On August 28, Spanish prosecutors announced they had begun a preliminary investigation into Rubiales’ conduct and offered Hermoso the opportunity to file a complaint against him.

Hermoso, 33, had 15 days to formalise the complaint and did so in person this week, sources confirmed to ESPN.

In a statement released in August, Hermoso said that the “kiss was not consensual” and that she “felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act.”

Rubiales had previously claimed the kiss — which he referred to as a “little peck” — was with consent.

“The behaviour of Rubiales could be deemed as sexual harassment on the basis of current Spanish legislation,” attorney Ignacio Alvarez Serrano, an associate at Gomez-Acebo & Pombo, told ESPN last week.

“[The legislation] punishes such misconduct with 1-2 years in prison and 18-24 months of professional disqualification.”

In the event of a successful prosecution, Rubiales would be unlikely to do jail time. Prison sentences under two years are usually suspended in Spain if the guilty party has no criminal record and does not re-offend.

Although the incident took place in Australia, Spanish law allows for acts committed overseas to be prosecuted in Spanish courts if the parties involved are Spanish nationals and the conduct in question is also an offence in the country where it took place.

TAD opened an investigation of Rubiales last week and, after classifying the infraction as “serious,” could ban Rubiales from the game for a maximum of two years. If they had classified it as “very serious,” the government could have stepped in to suspend Rubiales as the investigation is carried out.