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Luis Rubiales faces sexual assault investigation from Spanish prosecutors

Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales kisses star midfielder Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup final. (Noemi Llamas/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Luis Rubiales is being investigated by Spanish prosecutors over whether his unsolicited kiss of World Cup star Jenni Hermoso should be considered sexual assault.

Rubiales, who serves as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), has come under fire for his kiss of Hermoso after the World Cup final. Prosecutors in Spain’s top criminal court have opened a preliminary investigation into the incident.

While Rubiales contends that the kiss was consensual, Hermoso repeatedly has said that it was not. The court is opening its investigation due to the “unequivocal nature” of Hermoso’s statements, noting that they needed to “determine their legal significance,” per a statement released Monday.

Additionally, Hermoso will be contacted by legal experts to give her the option to pursue legal action against Rubiales.

“In order to proceed with a case for sexual assault, harassment or sexual abuse, it will be necessary for the injured party or their legal representative to file suit, or the public prosecutors’ office,” the statement read.

On Friday, Rubiales was suspended for 90 days by FIFA after he refused to resign from his position. While Rubiales is also a vice president for UEFA, the European football association has denied the RFEF’s request to have itself suspended due to what the federation claimed to be government interference.

The entirety of the Spain women’s national team and countless other players have said they will not return to the team “if the current leaders continue.” All the members of head coach Jorge Vilda’s staff also have resigned, though not Vilda himself.

Officials within the Spanish government also have criticized Rubiales, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who called the RFEF president’s conduct “unacceptable.”

The RFEF also called an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting Monday “to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself.”