Barely five days after his resignation, the former boss of Spanish football, Luis Rubiales, will answer for the first time in court on Friday to accusations of "sexual assault" against him for his forced kiss to Jennifer Hermoso.
Summoned at 12:00 p.m. (10:00 a.m. GMT) at the Madrid court of the National Court, where he will be awaited by a swarm of journalists, the former president of the Spanish federation (RFEF) will be questioned by judge Francisco de Jorge, in charge of the case, during a closed hearing.
Since a recent reform of the Spanish Penal Code, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault, a criminal category bringing together all types of sexual violence.
According to a spokeswoman for the prosecution, the penalties faced by Rubiales, 46, range from a fine to four years in prison.
Justice also upheld an offense of coercion because, according to the prosecution, "Jenni Hermoso explained that she had been, with those around her, the victim of constant pressure from Mr. Rubiales and his professional entourage to justify and approves the facts.
Rubiales' kiss to Jennifer Hermoso, just after the women's "Roja" world title in Sydney on August 20, sparked a wave of international outrage and overshadowed the Spanish victory.
In an interview given to a British journalist and broadcast on Tuesday, Luis Rubiales – who ended up under pressure resigning on Sunday evening after refusing to do so for three weeks – again denied any criminal wrongdoing.
“It was a reciprocal act,” he assured. It was “nothing other than a moment of happiness, a great joy”, he continued, denying any act with “sexual connotation”: “my intentions were noble, 100% non-sexual, 100 %, I repeat 100%.
A version contested by Jenni Hermoso, 33, who said she felt "victim (...) of an impulsive and sexist act, inappropriate and without any consent", and filed a complaint.
Luis Rubiales' hearing in court comes as the new coach of the women's "Roja", Montse Tomé, must present, also on Friday, her list of players summoned for the matches of September 22 and 26 against Sweden and Switzerland in the League of Nations.
Her first challenge is to try to convince the 23 world champions to postpone the red jersey, even though they had announced at the end of August, alongside dozens of other players, their refusal to play for the selection as long as Rubiales remained at home. position and that there would be no notable changes at the head of the federation.
The latter have not officially announced their decision. But the resignation of Rubiales, the dismissal of Jorge Vilda, replaced by Montse Tomé, and the federation's promises of reform should be able to facilitate their return.
"We have had conversations (...). I think there will be no problem," Rafael del Amo, one of the few leaders of the federation to immediately criticize Rubiales' attitude.
09/15/2023 05:27:55 - Madrid (AFP) - © 2023 AFP