Spain prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against Luis Rubiales alleging sexual assault and coercion after he kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following the 2023 World Cup final.
The lawsuit against Rubiales, who also has been suspended as president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), was announced Friday, two days after Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault. Under a sexual consent law passed last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to four years if found guilty of sexual assault.
The new law eliminates the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault.” Any nonconsensual sexual act can be prosecuted.
Additionally, prosecutors are saying Rubiales may have committed an act of coercion when, according to Hermoso, he pressured her to speak in defense of him following criticism of his behavior.
While Rubiales has insisted that the kiss was consensual, Hermoso has maintained her denial of that claim in multiple statements issued by both her and her players’ union.
In addition to a possible criminal trial, Rubiales was suspended by FIFA for 90 days starting on Aug. 27 during an investigation into the incident. Additionally, the Spanish government could deem Rubiales unfit to hold the position of RFEF president for up to two years.