Spanish football star Jenni Hermoso has filed a legal complaint over an unsolicited kiss by football federation boss Luis Rubiales following Spain’s win in the Women’s World Cup, the national prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.
With the complaint filed, Rubiales could face criminal charges in addition to the continuing probe by Spain’s top sport court for “serious misconduct” and an investigation by football world governing body FIFA.
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Rubiales, who has now been suspended by the Spanish football federation (RFEF), kissed Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.
Rubiales has insisted the kiss was consensual. Hermoso has said it was not.
Hermoso also said she and her family were pressured by the federation to show their support for Rubiales in the immediate aftermath of the scandal caused by the kiss that tarnished her team’s victory.
Spain’s government, players’ unions, players and many citizens have come out in support of Hermoso. Rubiales, meanwhile, has become a football outcast even as he refuses to resign.
Rubiales was suspended from his post by FIFA on August 27, a day after he refused to step down when he delivered a defiant speech to the general assembly of his federation in which he claimed he was the victim of a “witch-hunt” by “false feminists”.
Some 81 players went on strike from the women’s side in protest after the 46-year-old’s fierce defensive speech following the incident.
The prosecutor’s office said Hermoso made the accusation on Tuesday.
Prosecutors had said last week that they were going to meet Hermoso to give her the opportunity to present an accusation against Rubiales.
Hermoso, a 33-year-old forward, now plays for Mexican club Pachuca after a long career with top Spanish and European clubs, including Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.
The RFEF sacked Spain women’s coach Jorge Vilda on Tuesday in the wake of the scandal.
Considered a close ally of Rubiales, Vilda had been under fire since last year when 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation because of what they said were inadequate coaching methods and conditions.
Most of the players involved were cut from the squad even as some demands were met.