Spain's Ex-Soccer Chief Is in More Trouble Over That Kiss

Luis Rubiales will stand trial, faces prison
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2024 8:41 AM CDT
Spain's Ex-Soccer Chief Faces Prison Over Unwanted Kiss
The former president of Spain's soccer federation Luis Rubiales arrives at the National Court in Madrid, Spain, Monday, April. 29, 2024.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The former president of Spain's soccer federation, who partly overshadowed Spain's victory in the Women's World Cup final in August when he planted an unwanted kiss on the lips of a player, will stand trial on two charges. In January, a Spanish judge concluded the kiss was nonconsensual and within the bounds of the "intimacy of sexual relations," per the New York Times. And on Wednesday, Spain's National Court ruled Luis Rubiales would stand trial on one count of sexual assault and one count of coercion, the BBC reports. He reportedly faces up to a year in prison for the first count and up to 18 months for the second. A trial date has not been set.

In a moment broadcast live to billions of people around the world, Rubiales grabbed Jennifer Hermoso's face and kissed her during the World Cup trophy presentation ceremony, prompting fierce backlash. He claimed the kiss was consensual and that he was forced to resign as victim of a "social assassination." But Hermoso said the kiss was "unexpected and at no time consensual," per the BBC. The coercion charge stems for alleged efforts to force Hermoso to go along with Rubiales' defense. Former women's national team coach Jorge Vilda, team sporting director Albert Luque, and the federation's head of marketing, Ruben Rivera, are facing the same charge.

Soccer's governing body, FIFA, has already barred Rubiales from the sport for three years. The 46-year-old is also tied up in a corruption and money laundering probe. Among other allegations, he's accused of using federation funds to pay for a sex party in Granada in 2020, the Times reports. (More Luis Rubiales stories.)

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