Spanish judge rules Rubiales will face criminal trial over Hermoso kiss

January 26 – A Spanish judge on Thursday proposed that disgraced former national federation chief Luis Rubiales be tried over the kiss he forced on Women’s World Cup star Jenni Hermoso without her consent.

In a ruling following a preliminary investigation, judge Francisco de Jorge of Spain’s top criminal court concluded that the kiss “was not consensual and was a unilateral and unexpected move” by Rubiales, who is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion.

He also proposed putting three others on trial for subsequently exerting pressure on Hermoso, 33, “to make a public statement confirming the kiss was consensual”: former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing boss Ruben Rivera.

The judge said he had found evidence of “a concerted effort” by Vilda, Luque and Rivera, in agreement with Rubiales, “to persuade Jennifer Hermoso and get her to agree to make a video saying the kiss was consensual”.

During the incident on August 20 after Spain beat England to win the Women’s World Cup final in Australia, Rubiales held Hermoso’s head in both hands and forcibly kissed her on the lips.

He has described the act as “a consensual peck” but Hermoso has insisted it was not.

The kiss provoked widespread outrage and prompted FIFA to ban Rubiales for three years. Despite initially claiming he was the victim of a campaign led by “false feminists,” Rubiales eventually resigned.

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