Rubiales to go on trial in Spain over unwanted World Cup Hermoso kiss

Former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales to face trial in February 2025 for his unsolicited kiss on a female player.

Luis Rubiales Spain
The former president of Spain's football federation Luis Rubiales will stand trial for his unsolicited kiss on the lips of Women's World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on August 20, 2023 [Manu Fernandez/AP]

Disgraced former Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales will stand trial in February next year for his unsolicited kiss on the lips of Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, according to the court overseeing the process.

Rubiales, 46, provoked worldwide outrage by kissing Hermoso during the medal ceremony after Spain beat England to win the World Cup in Australia last year.

In May, a court had ruled Rubiales should be tried for sexual assault over the kiss, and for the alleged coercion subsequently exerted to make her say that it was consensual, without setting a date.

The trial will be held at the Audiencia Nacional, a Madrid court in charge of complex cases, from February 3 to 19, the court said in a statement on Monday.

Public prosecutors have requested a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison for Luis Rubiales – one year for sexual assault and 18 months for coercion.

The prosecution is also asking for two years’ probation once the sentence has been served and for him to pay 50,000 euros ($54,000) in compensation to the player.

Rubiales, who is also under investigation in a separate alleged corruption case involving his reign at the federation, has denied any wrongdoing.

Three of his former associates are also being tried for putting pressure on Hermoso: former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and federation marketing boss Ruben Rivera.

The kiss took place live in front of the world’s cameras, provoking widespread outrage and prompting his suspension by the world football governing body FIFA.

At the time, Rubiales brushed it off as a “consensual” peck on the lips, but Hermoso, 34, said it was not.

Under Spanish law, a nonconsensual kiss can be classed as sexual assault – a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence.

Rubiales told private Spanish television station La Sexta in April that he could not understand how the kiss he gave Hermoso could be labelled as sexual assault, saying there was “no sexual context” to it.

He denied accusations that he and other federation officials coerced Hermoso by pressuring her to speak out in his defence after the scandal erupted.

“I have a clear conscience, things have been blown out of proportion,” Rubiales said.

Hermoso filed a lawsuit against Rubiales in September, telling the judge she had come under pressure to defend him both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands.

Source: News Agencies