Former Spanish soccer federation chief Rubiales will stand trial on charges of sexual assault and coercion for his unsolicited kiss of Jenni Hermoso after last year's Women’s World Cup final, a judge confirmed this week.

Back in January, Judge Francisco de Jorge recommended that Rubiales be held accountable for his 2023 actions, calling the kiss "unconsented and carried out unilaterally and in a surprising fashion" and within the bounds of "intimacy of sexual relations." On Wednesday, Spain’s National Court ruled that Rubiales should indeed stand trial.

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Rubiales has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, saying the kiss was consensual. Hermoso, meanwhile, defined the incident, which occurred during the WWC medal ceremony, as "unexpected and at no time consensual."

Public prosecutors and lawyers for the Spanish Women's National Football Team star and Women's World Cup champion are seeking two and a half years of prison time for Rubiales: one year for sexual assault, and an additional 18 months for participating in coercion.

Rubiales is alleged to have pressured Hermoso into showing support for him following the kiss. Three other officials — including former women's national team head coach Jorge Vilda — are also facing coercion charges that could result in 18 months in prison. 

A trial date has yet to be set. Last October, FIFA banned Rubiales from all football activity for three years. The sentence will be in place through the 2026 Men’s World Cup, but will have expired by the time the 2027 Women's World Cup begins.

A FIFA report made public Wednesday on former Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales showed that the soccer governing body considered “more severe sanctions” than the three-year ban it imposed on Rubiales in October.

The 35-page report also detailed more incidents of Rubiales’ misconduct, which included England FA chair Debbie Hewitt detailing “inappropriate” conduct with English players during the 2023 Women’s World Cup medal ceremony.

Hewitt testified to FIFA that during the medal ceremony, the Spanish president “cupped and stroked the face” of England’s Laura Coombs. He also appeared to “seemingly forcefully” kiss Lucy Bronze on the face.

She also noted that during the medal ceremony she was next to Rubiales, who she said was “unpleasant and unnecessarily aggressive” toward FIFA workers.

In response, Rubiales denied wrongdoing and accused Hewitt of “absolutely disgusting” behavior and “suggesting [he is] some form of creep.”

He attempted to defend himself, noting that he had stroked Coombs’s face as a show of comfort after she “was injured during the final, had to receive stitches and was wearing a bandage on her head.” Coombs did not play in the final, going as an unused substitute.

Johanna Wood, who is the president of New Zealand Football, also wrote submissions to the disciplinary committee upon witnessing Rubiales’s behavior. Both noted that they wanted to give “first-hand observations on [its] impact.”

Rubiales was issued a three-year ban from soccer by FIFA following incidents at the World Cup that included him kissing Spain player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, allegedly without consent, and earlier grabbing his crotch in the VIP area after the final, next to the Queen of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter. He was found to have behaved “in a manner contrary to the principles enshrined under Article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”

Following the incident, Rubiales was faced with international outcry. While he initially refused to resign as president of the RFEF, he later issued his resignation.

“The Committee wished to stress that it was tempted to impose more severe sanctions in view of the seriousness and gravity of the incidents at stake as well as of the profound negative impact that the Respondent’s actions had on the image of FIFA, women’s football and women’s sport in general,” FIFA said in the report.

The report went on to say that the disciplinary committee was satisfied with the three year ban, only with “strong hesitations.” The committee said that it could not ignore the impact of Rubiales’ actions on Hermoso, both her mental health and her career. They also said that Rubiales utilized his position to put out statements using quotes that were not written or authorized by Hermoso.

The committee found that there hadn’t been a prior agreement between Hermoso and Rubiales about a kiss, and that Hermoso’s behavior prior to the incident did not imply consent.

But even if the kiss had been consensual, the committee wrote, it would have been inappropriate.

“The Committee found it essential to emphasize that such a kiss – emanating from the president of an association towards a player (of the opposite sex) of one of the national team under his leadership and responsibility – was completely unacceptable,” they wrote.

“This, regardless of whether or not it would have been consensual. As a matter of fact, by representing an entire country – that had just won the most prestigious women’s tournament – and by holding the highest position within the association, its president is expected to behave with the highest level of composure and discernment. In other words, it is expected to adopt an irreproachable attitude, far from that displayed during the award ceremony at stake.”

Rubiales accepted that he should not have kissed Hermoso, nor carried Athenea del Castillo or grabbed his crotch. Still, he argued that “at no point” did Del Castillo ask to be put down. He also defended the crotch gesture as a tribute to Spain’s then-head coach Jorge Vilda.

Former Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales has been banned from all activities related to the sport for three years, FIFA announced Monday.

The ban comes after Rubiales’ nonconsensual kiss of star midfielder Jenni Hermoso at the 2023 World Cup final. He also threw another Spanish player over his shoulder and was seen grabbing his crotch during Spain’s 1-0 win over England, and his behavior resulted in multiple investigations into his conduct.

While Rubiales initially refused calls to resign, he stepped down on Sept. 10, though he remained defiant in the face of the backlash against him. His decision to resign came after he received a provisional suspension from FIFA, the Spanish government attempted to have him removed and Hermoso filed a criminal complaint against him.

“The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has banned Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), from all football-related activities at national and international levels for three years, having found that he acted in breach of article 13 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code,” FIFA said in a statement Monday. “This case relates to the events that occurred during the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on 20 August 2023, for which Mr Rubiales had been provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days.

“Mr Rubiales has been notified of the terms of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee’s decision today. In accordance with the relevant provisions of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, he has ten days in which to request a motivated decision, which, if requested, would subsequently be published on The decision remains subject to a possible appeal before the FIFA Appeal Committee.

“FIFA reiterates its absolute commitment to respecting and protecting the integrity of all people and ensuring that the basic rules of decent conduct are upheld.”

While Rubiales has maintained his innocence, saying the kiss was consensual, Spanish prosecutors have charged him with sexual assault and coercion. They also say Rubiales attempted to put pressure on both Hermoso and her family to say that the kiss was consensual.

Hermoso has maintained that the kiss was not consensual, saying she felt “disrespected” and was left unprotected “as an employee of the federation.”

The 33-year-old midfielder returned to the national team last week for the first time since the World Cup final, scoring the game-winning goal in Spain’s 1-0 Nations League victory over Italy.

Alexia Putellas and the rest of the Spain women’s national team are aiming to inspire change beyond soccer as the fallout from their World Cup controversy continues.

Luis Rubiales resigned as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) earlier this week as the result of mounting pressure from his behavior at the 2023 World Cup final. Following Spain’s 1-0 win over England, Rubiales kissed star midfielder Jenni Hermoso, a gesture which she has maintained came without her consent.

Hermoso’s teammates have stood with her in the wake of the incident, which created an international uproar and has led to multiple investigations into Rubiales.

So when FC Barcelona Femení became the first sports team to win the Medal of Honor from the Catalan parliament, Putellas used the platform to call attention to their fight for change.

“We are the first men’s or women’s team to be distinguished with this Medal of Honour — this would have been unthinkable five, 15, 20 years ago, but it has happened,” she said in her acceptance speech Wednesday. “This has not been achieved from scratch, so I would like to thank all those pioneers who, before our arrival, promoted women’s sport at Barca or in other organizations. This medal also belongs to them, we are very aware of that.”

Launched in 2000, previous winners include recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, former presidents and soccer manager Pep Guardiola, the only previous winner related to sport.

Barcelona received the award for their success as four-time Spanish league winners and two-time Champions League winners, but also because of the impact that they have had on sport in Catalonia. Twice, the team has filled Camp Nou and broken women’s attendance records.

“At Barca, we are helping to build a fairer, more equal society with more opportunities through football. Our efforts and our victories are making us a point of reference for many children, young people and adults,” Putellas said. “Our commitment to women’s sport and society is unquestionable, but we need more help to keep growing, so that this is not just a fad. And here, if I may, I would like to demand more support for women’s football, more and better facilities, more pitches and more investment at grassroots level.”

Noting that women in sports are “here to stay,” Putellas also noted a commitment to “help those that come after us.”

“There is still a long way to go, as we are seeing these days with the serious situation we are facing with the [RFEF] and the changes we are all asking for so that no woman, inside or outside football, ever has to live a situation of disrespect or abuse,” she said.

“We need consensus, courage and leadership from the institutions. We will not stop here. Those who fought before us deserve it, we deserve it for the effort we make every day and all the girls and boys who today dream of being like us deserve it. We will not fail you.”

Luis Rubiales has resigned from his position as Spanish football federation president amid the ongoing fallout over his nonconsensual kiss of star player Jenni Hermoso at the 2023 World Cup final.

Rubiales, 46, announced his resignation in a letter published Sunday on social media, following weeks of defiance in the face of increasing backlash from the global soccer community. The Spanish federation (RFEF) confirmed that Rubiales had stepped down as president of the RFEF and as vice president of UEFA.

“After the suspension by FIFA, in addition to the rest of the proceedings against me, it is clear that I will not be able to return to my position,” Rubialies wrote, referring to his 90-day provisional suspension by FIFA. He also faces a sexual assault lawsuit from Spanish prosecutors.

“My daughters, my family and the people who love me have suffered the effects of persecution excessively, as well as many falsehoods, but it is also true that in the street, the truth is prevailing more every day,” he continued. He also said the “powers that be” would prevent his return, essentially forcing him to step down.

Later on Sunday, he gave an interview on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” in which he said his decision to resign came after speaking with his friends and family.

“They say to me, ‘Luis, now you have to focus on your dignity and to continue your life, because if not, probably, you are going to damage people you love,’” he said.

Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips without her consent in the celebration following Spain’s World Cup victory over England on Aug. 20. While he has said that the kiss was consensual, Hermoso has maintained her denial of that claim in multiple statements.

Last week, Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault. Two days later, Spanish prosecutors filed a lawsuit against Rubiales, alleging sexual assault and coercion. 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.

FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days during its investigation, but the world soccer governing body is reportedly seeking a 15-year ban.

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.

Jorge Vilda has been fired by the Royal Spanish Football Federation in the wake of the scandal involving federation president Luis Rubiales. The head coach of the women’s national team, Vilda was also removed from his post as sporting director on Tuesday.

FIFA has placed Rubiales on a 90-day suspension while it investigates his behavior from Spain’s World Cup celebrations. Rubiales has denied that his kiss of Spain star Jenni Hermoso was non-consensual and has refused to resign as president.

Meanwhile, all 23 members of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad, as well as 58 other current and former players, have said they will not return to play for the national team “if the current management continues.”

On Tuesday, the RFEF issued a statement apologizing for the “totally unacceptable behavior” by Rubiales and said that it is cooperating with the disciplinary actions taken against him.

“The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society,” the statement reads. “The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.”

The federation also thanked Vilda, who came under fire last year when players first spoke out about the team’s culture. Last September, 15 players said they would not play for the national team under Vilda until significant changes were made. Three of those 15 players returned for the World Cup.

In the weeks after the World Cup win, Rubiales had backed Vilda as coach. Vilda broke with his boss on Aug. 27 to condemn the incident with Hermoso.

“The coach has been key to the notable growth in women’s football and left Spain as World Champion and second in FIFA ranking,” the federation said. But, according to ESPN, Vilda was informed of his removal shortly after the statement was released.

The RFEF also promised a “profound and immediate restructuring” of the organization. Regional presidents of the organization have called for Rubiales’ resignation.

“There have to be structural changes in women’s football,” Joan Soteras, the president of the Catalan Federation and a member of the RFEF committee of regional presidents, said last week. “One of those could be [removing] Vilda. He was at the centre of the mess with the national team [last September]. If it was up to me, I would [dismiss him]. A change would be the most convenient thing for the good of women’s football.”

Luis Rubiales continues to dig in his heels, refusing to resign as president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) despite mounting backlash over his unsolicited kiss of star midfielder Jenni Hermoso at the 2023 World Cup final.

On Friday, Spain’s sports court deemed Rubiales’ kiss of Hermoso was “serious” but not “very serious,” which means Rubiales cannot be suspended by the Spanish government. While an investigation by Spanish prosecutors could still lead the president to be suspended for a maximum of two years, Rubiales will continue to defend himself “to prove the truth,” he said.

He also criticized those in the media and politics for “unprecedented” treatment.

“He just continues to dig that hole. I don’t understand the point of all of this,” U.S. women’s national team legend Julie Foudy told CNN on Friday. “What we’ve seen is you have, for the first time ever, a women’s team in Spain win that World Cup. And that has never happened in that country.

“And so in this moment of joy and glee for these women, all of a sudden all of that is taken away by Rubiales’ refusal to even apologize at first.”

Rubiales has faced heavy criticism, including from leaders of the Spanish government and regional presidents of the Spanish football federation. Even still, he has held his ground, but Foudy doesn’t think will end well for Rubiales.

“I think the difference this time around … is that you have this movement culturally and in society where you’re seeing a global reaction to this,” she said. “Not just soccer players defending her, not just women. … there has been a global reaction to that. And the government has responded to it. I think this will not end well for him.”

Despite the seemingly unending controversy, Foudy still thinks some good will come from it.

“If you can find a silver lining in it … it will be this transformative moment,” she said, highlighting the issues Spain has faced with “Las 15.” “This is not just about a kiss, this is about a larger systemic issue. And finally you’re getting a cultural reaction, not just in Spain but globally.”

Regional presidents of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) have called for the immediate resignation of embattled president Luis Rubiales.

This comes days after the federation’s members applauded Rubiales as he vowed not to resign in the aftermath of his World Cup controversy. Rubiales has come under fire for his unsolicited kiss of Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso after the team’s World Cup win. Following the incident, he insisted the kiss was consensual, while Hermoso has maintained that it was not.

FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days during its investigation, but the world soccer governing body is reportedly seeking a 15-year ban. The Spanish government has also sought Rubiales’ removal, and prosecutors are investigating the incident as possible sexual assault.

Through it all, Rubiales has said he will not resign. In front of the RFEF last Friday, he railed against “fake feminism” in a speech that was met with a standing ovation.

Following the speech, the RFEF issued a statement saying that it would seek legal action against Hermoso, accusing her of lying about the circumstances of the kiss. That statement was later deleted.

On Monday, a committee consisting of the RFEF’s regional federation presidents met for five hours to discuss next steps.

“After the latest events and unacceptable behavior that have severely damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents ask, with immediate effect, that Luis Rubiales presents his resignation as president of the RFEF,” the regional presidents said in a statement released Monday night.

One committee member, Manu Díaz de Marcos, told broadcaster Cadena Ser that the regional presidents had not considered the idea of a no-confidence motion in Rubiales, which would have brought an end to his presidency.

The statement does not mention Hermoso by name, although it does call for a “new phase” for the federation and a “deep and imminent restructuring” of the RFEF body. The players of the Spain women’s national team have refused to return without a leadership change.

U.S. women’s national team star Megan Rapinoe is applauding the international censuring of Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales over his nonconsensual kiss of Jenni Hermoso and his subsequent refusal to resign.

Rubiales, who claims the kiss was consensual, has said he will not stepped down from his post. But FIFA has suspended him for 90 days pending its investigation into his actions, and Rubiales’ posturing has been met with contempt from the global soccer community.

The players of the World Cup-winning Spain women’s national team have refused to return while Rubiales is still in place, while 11 members of the coaching staff have resigned from their posts. After the resignation of his staff, head coach Jorge Vilda condemned Rubiales’ actions, though Vilda has not resigned.

On Sunday, Rapinoe applauded the “global backlash” against Rubiales, she told reporters after OL Reign’s match.

“He’s trying to fight back and everyone’s like, absolutely f—ing not. … So I think that speaks a lot to the progress we have made,” she said. “I think it’s almost so absurd that he’s continuing down this track. Having men’s players speak out about [it], obviously Xavi, the Barcelona head coach spoke about it. To have figures like that, I think just shows how backward his response was. … Hopefully it’ll be dealt with quickly so they can get back to celebrating their World Cup.”

Other NWSL players also felt encouraged by the support for Hermoso, including Angel City FC and New Zealand captain Ali Riley.

“What gives me hope is to see most of the world coming together and I still think that as a collective voice as women with our male allies now who are coming forward, we can’t be ignored,” she said, adding that she hopes Hermoso “feels the support.”

Portland Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey also reiterated the importance of standing behind Hermoso. NWSL players wore wristbands emblazoned with “Contigo Jenni” during the weekend’s matches, and other clubs worldwide also expressed their support.

“I don’t think I can put into words how important it is,” Coffey said. “I’m just in awe of the women in this league and the way that we’ve come together to just rally behind her.”

Every day it seems like something “more repulsive” is revealed about the RFEF and “the hell” that Hermoso and Spanish women’s players have had to go through, Coffey said. She also called out the tragedy of Spain’s World Cup win being overshadowed “by the failings of the men of their federation.”

“It’s a tale as old as time,” she said. “Ultimately, though, I do feel hope regarding the situation and that action is going to be taken. … I think it’s the support of the women around you that gets you through something like this. I’m just so glad we can rally around her and ultimately bring more of a voice and more of a light to the situation because it has no place here.”