Spanish football star Jenni Hermoso has filed a legal complaint over an unsolicited kiss by football federation boss Luis Rubiales following Spain’s win over England in the Women’s World Cup final, the national prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.
With the complaint, Rubiales could face criminal charges in addition to the ongoing probe by Spain’s top sport court for “serious misconduct” and an investigation by world governing body Fifa.
The kiss occurred minutes after Spain won the World Cup, immediately prior to lifting the trophy as the squad received their medals and passed a line of dignitaries – one of which was Rubiales in his position as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (Rfef). There, he was seen planting a kiss on Hermoso’s lips – which the player says was not consensual and Rubiales insists that it was.
While the crisis engulfing Spanish football has centred around Rubiales’ position and conduct, it has not been limited to the president, with head coach Jorge Vilda sacked from his post this week and claiming it to have been an “unfair” decision.
Rubiales, meanwhile, continues to protest his innocence in the situation, releasing a statement to say “justice will be served” and that “information […] is being subjected to numerous manipulations, lies, and censorship”.
Spanish prosecutors initially opened a preliminary investigation into whether the incident amounts to a crime of sexual assault, with the office now saying the legal complaint has been filed.
The national sports tribunal also opened a misconduct case against Rubiales, ruling the kiss on Hermoso constituted a “serious offence”, but not one to the degree which would have resulted in his suspension. However, he has already been suspended from his duties by Fifa, while Uefa also said his behaviour was “inappropriate”, but are leaving any sanctions to the game’s governing body to hand out.
Meanwhile, the Rfef’s regional leaders have called for Rubiales’ resignation from the head of the organisation.
Rubiales’ mother locked herself in a church and went on a hunger strike as the controversy around her son broke out, insisting she was “willing to die” to protest his innocence. However, she was eventually taken to hospital for treatment.
Former England international Jill Scott said this week that the saga had “overshadowed” the enormous sporting achievement of the Spanish squad having won the World Cup, while every member of the squad have refused to play for Spain again while Rubiales remains head of the federation.
Neither Hermoso’s representatives nor Rubiales were immediately available for comment.