In a dramatic turn of events, Luis Rubiales, the former head of Spain’s football federation (RFEF), has made a court appearance in Madrid to address a criminal complaint related to his actions during the celebrations following Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup. The incident in question involves Spanish player Jenni Hermoso and has prompted accusations of sexual assault and coercion against Rubiales.
The 46-year-old Rubiales, who resigned from his position just days before this legal development, maintained a stoic silence as he entered the national court, where he is now facing these serious allegations. According to reports by the BBC, the court will ultimately determine whether this case proceeds to trial.
Rubiales has staunchly defended himself, asserting that the kiss he shared with Hermoso was entirely consensual and mutual, occurring in the aftermath of Spain’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup held in Australia on August 20th. Despite his insistence on consent, Spanish state prosecutors have officially filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales, which will be evaluated by Judge Francisco de Jorge.
However, the celebratory moment following the Women’s World Cup victory has been marred by controversy ever since Rubiales’s actions came under scrutiny. The 33-year-old Jenni Hermoso, in contrast to Rubiales’s account, has stated that the kiss was not consensual.
In response to Hermoso’s allegations, prosecutors have not only maintained the initial complaint of sexual assault but have also added a charge of coercion. They argue that Rubiales pressured the Spain forward to publicly support him in the days following the incident when it sparked outrage.
This legal saga takes place against the backdrop of Spain’s recent legislative changes concerning consent. In the past two years, the Spanish government implemented reforms to the laws surrounding consent, particularly in the wake of a notorious gang-rape case in 2016 that resulted in the acquittal of five men charged with rape.
Under the “Only Yes is Yes” law, Rubiales could potentially face severe consequences, including fines or even imprisonment, if the case advances to trial and he is found guilty of sexual assault. The outcome of this high-profile legal battle will undoubtedly attract significant attention and have far-reaching implications for the debate surrounding consent in Spain.