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Luis Rubiales: Hermoso testifies in sexual assault case

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The Spanish soccer player involved in the controversial kiss, Jenni Hermoso, by the former soccer president at the Women’s World Cup final, appeared in court on Tuesday to provide her testimony in the ongoing sexual assault case against Luis Rubiales.

Hermoso, who previously denounced the kiss as unwanted, arrived at the Madrid court wearing a grey coat and requested a private court appearance. 

The kiss, which occurred after Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney, led to widespread outrage, triggering a crisis in Spanish soccer. 

The fallout included a boycott of the national team by World Cup-winning players and Rubiales’ eventual resignation, despite his denial of wrongdoing and insistence that the kiss was consensual.

During her court appearance, Hermoso was expected to reiterate her allegations that Rubiales and his staff attempted to pressure her and her family to downplay the incident, which marred Spain’s first Women’s World Cup title.

The sexual assault and coercion charges brought by Spanish state prosecutors claim that Rubiales sought to convince Hermoso and her relatives to publicly downplay the kiss. 

Before deciding whether to proceed with a trial, the judge hears testimonies from various individuals involved, including other World Cup-winning players, coaches, and federation officials.

Rubiales, who previously denied any wrongdoing, faces potential consequences under a sexual consent law passed last year, which eliminated the distinction between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault.” He could face a fine or a prison sentence ranging from one to four years if found guilty.

Hermoso, a prominent figure in Spain, spoke out against the kiss, promoting a “Me Too” movement in the country. She received threats in the aftermath but became a symbol for change. The national team boycott ended last year after players were assured of changes within the federation.

FIFA banned Rubiales for three years until after the men’s 2026 World Cup, and he resigned from his positions as the federation president and UEFA vice president amid mounting pressure in Spain. UEFA acknowledged his service one day after his resignation.

 

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