The president of the Spanish Football Association, Luis Rubiales, is under investigation by Spain’s leading criminal court after an incident involving a non-consensual kiss he gave to player Jenni Hermoso. The kiss occurred following Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup, prompting widespread criticism and allegations from the 33-year-old Hermoso that the kiss was not consensual.
Prosecutors are launching a preliminary investigation into the matter to determine if it constitutes a sexual assault. As a result of the incident, FIFA suspended Rubiales, and the Spanish government has called for his suspension by Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD), which will be discussed at an upcoming TAD meeting.
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has convened an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting to assess the situation, while FIFA has instructed Rubiales, the RFEF, and associated officials not to contact Hermoso, who had earlier received legal threats from the RFEF.
Rubiales, who apologized for the kiss, has faced calls for his resignation from prominent figures including Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz. Rubiales expressed regret for his actions, acknowledging that his behavior was inappropriate for his role as president.
The incident took place during celebrations at Stadium Australia, where Rubiales was seen in the VIP section alongside Queen Letizia of Spain and her daughter. He kissed Hermoso on the lips while presenting her with a winner’s medal on the podium.
Hermoso expressed her displeasure with the incident on Instagram, but later issued a statement through her representatives defending Rubiales. In a separate development, Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, began a hunger strike at a church in Motril, Spain, in protest of the perceived unfair treatment and “inhuman hunt” against her son. Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz, acting as a family spokesperson, decried the media’s intrusion and expressed the family’s desire for privacy and truth to prevail in the matter.