EXPERT witnesses have told the national High Court that former Spanish Football Federation Chairman Luis Rubiales did indeed ask player Jenni Hermoso if he could kiss her during the celebrations for the women’s team’s victory at the World Cup in Sydney on August 20. What they could not confirm, however, was whether she gave him permission to do so.
Legal sources confirmed to Spanish daily El Español that these professionals – deaf people specialising in lip-reading – confirmed to an investigating judge that Rubiales had indeed said to Hermoso: “A little kiss?” before grabbing her by the head and planting a kiss on her lips.
However, they were not able to determine from the available footage of the incident whether she granted him permission, as she had her back to the camera.
The kiss caused an international scandal back in August, which led to huge pressure on Rubiales to quit. He was suspended from his roles in football by world authority Fifa, and drew widespread criticism – including from Spain’s caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sanchez – for what was considered to be a forcible kiss without consent.
He eventually quit from his role after the National High Court accepted a sexual assault case against him for the kiss, as well as charges of coercion for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to back his side of the story as the controversy grew.
Hermoso, for her part, has always insisted that the kiss was non-consensual and is part of the private prosecution against Rubiales in the High Court case.
Also this week one of Hermoso’s brothers appeared before the court along with one of her friends, to confirm that the player and her close contacts and family were indeed pressured by Rubiales in the wake of the kiss.
Rubiales denies all the charges.
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