Former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has arrived in court to give testimony to a judge investigating the kiss on Jenni Hermoso at last month’s Women’s World Cup.
The incident took place on the winners’ podium of Spain’s World Cup final victory over England last month in Sydney.
Rubiales, 46, has maintained that the kiss was mutual and consensual. After weeks of resisting calls for him to step down as president of the Spanish FA, Rubiales, already suspended by FIFA, finally quit on September 10.
But last week, prosecutor Marta Durantez Gil filed a complaint with the High Court against Rubiales after Hermoso told prosecutors that Rubiales kissed her on the mouth without her consent while holding her head with both hands.
The prosecutor added a possible crime of coercion after Hermoso said she and her relatives were put under pressure by Rubiales and his entourage to say that she “justified and approved what happened”.
Judge Francisco de Jorge is in charge of the investigation and will decide whether the case goes to trial. If it does, Rubiales could face between one and four years imprisonment if found guilty.
De Jorge has ordered several media, including state broadcaster TVE, to send him footage of the incident and subsequent videos such as one with the players celebrating on a bus with Rubiales and referring to the kiss in what appeared to be a light-hearted manner. The investigation could take several months.
Friday’s hearing is behind closed doors.
Spain’s players went on strike in the aftermath of the Rubiales incident, insisting they would not return until the Spanish FA hierarchy changed. Spain sacked head coach Jorge Vilda before Rubiales stepped down last week.
Wiegman: Time to move on, players should be listened to
England manager Sarina Wiegman has claimed it is time to move on from the Rubiales incident and celebrate Spain’s players for winning the World Cup. The England manager also said one learning point from this incident is the need to listen to players.
“What I want to talk about now is we have to celebrate football and we should celebrate the Spanish players who won the World Cup. We haven’t been talking about that at all.
“Of course, we have all seen and followed the news that it is still going on and I would have to leave that now to the people working on that.
“Players need to be listened to and we need to move on. The women’s game has improved so much but there is still a long way to go.
“Not only in Spain, but everywhere, there are many players and top athletes who have a lot of challenges and we should all work together and stay connected and try to make the world better for those players.”