Spanish player Jenni Hermoso appeared in court on Tuesday to testify in the sexual assault case against former Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales.
Rubiales is named in a lawsuit brought by Spanish state prosecutors, alleging sexual assault and coercion after he kissed Hermoso on the lips without her consent following the 2023 World Cup final. They also say that he tried to convince Hermoso and her relatives to downplay the kiss publicly.
Hermoso’s testimony happened behind closed doors, with Spanish media saying that the forward asked that the appearance be kept as private as possible. She was expected to reiterate to the court that the kiss was unwanted and that both Rubiales and his staff tried to pressure both her and her family into downplaying the incident.
The judge is also hearing testimony from other World Cup-winning players, coaches and federation officials, before deciding whether to take the case to trial. Rubiales has previously denied wrongdoing to the judge, who issued a restraining order against him contacting Hermoso.
Rubiales’ actions at the World Cup – which also included him grabbing his crotch in celebration and “inappropriate” conduct toward England players – sparked international outrage. While he initially refused to resign as president of the RFEF, he later issued his resignation.
FIFA suspended Rubiales for three years, with a report in December showing that the soccer governing body considered more severe sanctions. The report went on to say that the disciplinary committee was satisfied with the three year ban, only with “strong hesitations.”
According to the prosecutors’ office in Madrid, a sexual consent law passed last year could see Rubiales face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty.