11 Sep, 2023 @ 16:36
2 mins read

Spain’s High Court accepts criminal case against Luis Rubiales over unsolicited kiss: Football Federation chief could face up to four years in jail

Embattled 'kisser' Luis Rubiales could face sex assault charges as top prosecutors in Spain open probe
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SPAIN’S national High Court has accepted a case filed by the public prosecutor against the now ex-Football Federation chairman, Luis Rubiales, over his unsolicited kiss with women’s team player Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup final on August 20. 

The criminal complaint from the prosecutor states that the 46-year-old may have committed offences of sexual assault and coercion.

According to a judicial decree issued on Monday, the investigating High Court judge, Francisco de Jorge, has already set in motion the preliminary proceedings in the case. 

These include requesting all of the videos that Spain’s state broadcaster, RTVE, holds in its archives of the incident in question. Those ‘that contain all of the angles of the moment in which the accused kisses the claimant’.

The judge has also requested videos of the celebrations of the women’s team after the game in their tour bus, in which Hermoso is heard joking about the kiss in a light-hearted fashion.

She later issued a statement making clear that the kiss had not been consensual, despite Rubiales’ claims to the contrary, and filed a criminal complaint against him for his actions. 

Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales. AP

Under Spain’s new ‘only yes means yes’ consent law, which came into force nearly a year ago, Rubiales could be facing a prison term of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault.

The coercion charge, meanwhile, which relates to allegations he pressured Hermoso and those close to her to come out in support of him after he was criticised for his actions, carries with it a jail term of six months to three years. 

On Sunday evening Rubiales finally announced that he was going to quit from his roles as Football Federation chairman and vice-president of European sporting authority Uefa. 

Jenni Hermoso in Marbella ice-cream parlour
Jenni Hermoso, pictured in a Marbella ice-cream parlour.

Despite having been suspended from those positions by world authority Fifa, as well as incurring criticism from figures including caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, he was hanging onto his role until this weekend. 

“After the rapid suspension by Fifa, and the rest of the proceedings against me, it’s clear that I cannot return to my post,” he wrote in a statement. “Trying to hang on in hope of clinging on won’t result in anything positive for either the federation or Spanish football.”

He also added that he would try to clear his name. As well as the kiss he planted on Hermoso at the medals ceremony after the World Cup final, which saw Spain beat England 1-0, he was also caught on camera at the close of the game grabbing his crotch in an obscene gesture despite standing just metres from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter, the infanta Sofia.

Read more:

Luis Rubiales FINALLY resigns

Prosecutors at Spain’s national High Court formalise criminal case against Luis Rubiales over unsolicited kiss

Jenni Hermoso files official complaint with the courts against Luis Rubiales over ‘non-consensual’ kiss

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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