Sunday, September 17, 2023 – Former Spanish FA chief, Luis Rubiales arrived at court in Madrid today to face sexual assault charges for forcibly kissing women’s World Cup player Jenni Hermoso.
It comes days after the 46-year-old resigned as Spain’s football chief.
Rubiales was summoned to Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional court for midday (11.00 GMT) today where he will give his testimony before Judge Francisco de Jorge, who is leading the investigation into the kiss.
At the hearing, which will be closed to the public, Rubiales will be questioned as a defendant in regards to allegations of ‘sexual assault’, a court statement said earlier this week. Hermoso will also be called to testify at a later date.
Rubiales, wearing a navy suit and white shirt, did not speak before entering the courthouse with his lawyer.
Spanish state prosecutors formally accused Rubiales last week of alleged sexual assault and an act of coercion when, according to Hermoso, he pressured her to speak out in his defence immediately after the scandal erupted.
Rubiales sparked outrage when he grabbed the midfielder and forcibly kissed her in front of horrified spectators after Spain defeated England 1-0 in the World Cup final on August 20.
‘What we had is a spontaneous act, a mutual act, an act that both consented to, which was driven by the emotion of the moment,’ he said, describing the kiss as ‘100 percent non-sexual’.
He claimed the fury over the kiss is due to a misunderstanding of Latin culture and insisted he would have done the same to a male player.
Rubiales said: ‘We were both emotional. We congratulated each other, I asked her “can I give you a quick peck?” – which is normal in our country – I give her a quick peck, I think she gave me one or two slaps in my side and that was it.
‘No intention of course, no sexual connotation or anything, just a moment of happiness, just great joy in that moment.’
The hearing comes with new coach Montse Tome, the first woman to lead the team, set to announce her squad on Friday for UEFA Women’s Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland on September 22 and 26.
Her first job will be to try and convince the 23 world champions to don the red jersey again after they and dozens of others said they would not play for the national team without significant changes at the head of the federation.
The players have not yet said what they will do following Rubiales’ resignation although the situation has changed since the RFEF sacked their controversial coach Jorge Vilda, named Tome in his stead, and pledged further internal reforms.
‘We have had discussions. I don’t think there will be any problem,’ Rafael del Amo, head of the RFEF’s women’s football committee told Cope radio on Tuesday.
‘I think things will move forward.’