Spain’s Jenni Hermoso files legal complaint over Luis Rubiales kiss after Women’s World Cup final
Luis Rubiales could face criminal charges over the kiss he planted on Jenni Hermoso after Spain won the Women’s World Cup
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Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso has filed a legal complaint against Luis Rubiales, accusing him of sexual assault over the kiss he planted on her at the Women’s World Cup final.
Rubiales grabbed Hermoso’s head and kissed her on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England 1-0 in Sydney, Australia, on 20 August. Hermoso said the kiss was non-consensual - and that it had left her feeling “vulnerable” and “a victim of aggression”.
The football star also described Rubiales’ actions as “impulsive”, “sexist”, “out of place”, and “without any type of consent from my part”. She then claimed that in the immediate aftermath of the incident, she and her family had been pressured by the Spanish FA to show support for Rubiales.
Rubiales, who refused to resign despite mounting pressure and outrage, consistently dismissed his critics as “idiots” and “stupid” in the days following the incident, before changing tack and offering an apology that many perceived as half-hearted. He later tried to say the kiss was consensual, before delivering a defiant speech in which he claimed he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by “false” feminists.
FIFA suspended Rubiales following the speech on 27 August, and a day later, prosecutors in Spain announced they had launched a sexual assault investigation into the World Cup Final kiss. “Given the public statements made by Jennifer Hermoso, the sexual act she was subjected to by Luis Rubiales was not consensual,” a statement said.
It is understood that Hermoso was invited to file a legal complaint as part of this investigation, which could see Rubiales face criminal charges. Under a recently passed sexual consent law, he could be sentenced to between one and four years in prison if found guilty of sexual assault - or be issued with a fine.
The national sports tribunal has also opened a misconduct case against Rubiales. This kiss he planted on Hermoso has been described as “a serious offence”, but was not given the level that could result in his suspension.
In spite of this, FIFA suspended Rubiales anyway - although Rubiales himself has still refused to resign, despite a continued uproar over both the kiss and footage of him grabbing his crotch when Spain won the World Cup. Every member of the women’s squad have also powerfully refused to play for Spain again while Rubiales remains president of the federation.
The Spanish football federation has since sought to distance itself from its suspended president. In a statement released on Tuesday (5 September), it apologised for the “enormous damage” that his “totally unacceptable” actions had caused, adding that he had “tarnished our national team, our football, and our society.”
Amid the controversy, Rubiales’ mother locked herself in a church and went on a hunger strike - insisting she was “willing to die” to protest his innocence. However, she was eventually taken to hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, former England international football star Jill Scott said this week that the saga had “overshadowed” the enormous sporting achievement of the Spanish squad having won the World Cup.