Spanish football was rocked by the ‘kiss’ controversy© AFP
Former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales must appear in court on Friday in connection with the investigation into his forcible kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s lips after the Women’s World Cup final. Rubiales has been summoned to appear at 1200 local time (1000 GMT) before an examining magistrate “to be heard as an accused” and to respond to accusations of “sexual assault”, a Madrid court said in a statement Tuesday. The 46-year-old kissed Hermoso following Spain’s triumph in Sydney on August 20, which she says was not consensual, while Rubiales insists it was.
Judge Francisco de Jorge of the National Court admitted a complaint against Rubiales on Monday filed by Spanish prosecutors last week regarding alleged “crimes of sexual assault and “coercion”.
Under a recent reform of the Spanish penal code, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault, a criminal category that groups together all types of sexual violence.
The penalties for a forced kiss can range from a fine to four years in prison, according to sources from the public prosecutors’ office.
Rubiales stepped down as the Spanish football federation’s president on Sunday but continued to defend himself over the kiss.
“I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power so that it prevails,” Rubiales wrote in an open letter.
Hermoso, 33, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, has said the unwanted kiss left her feeling “vulnerable and like the victim of an assault”, with a statement on social media describing it as “an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part”.
She also accused Rubiales of pressuring her to speak out in his defence immediately after the furore over the kiss erupted, which prosecutors said could be considered a crime of coercion.
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