Spain’s FA Chief Faces 2.5-Year Jail Term Over World Cup Kiss

Spanish prosecutors are calling for the imprisonment of the former Spanish football federation leader for two-and-a-half years, stemming from an incident where he kissed a female player without her consent following Spain’s World Cup triumph.

Charges of sexual assault and coercion have been levied against Luis Rubiales after he forcibly kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips in August last year.

Ms. Hermoso, alongside her fellow teammates, expressed that the kiss was both “unwanted and demeaning.”

Mr. Rubiales was forced to resign from his position amidst the controversy but has denied any misconduct.

A document obtained by Reuters revealed that prosecutor Marta Durantez has formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion, related to his conduct post-incident, proposing prison sentences of one year and 18 months for each charge, respectively.

Furthermore, Durantez has accused Jorge Vilda, the former women’s national team coach, Albert Luque, the team’s current sporting director, and Ruben Rivera, the federation’s marketing head, of coercing Ms. Hermoso to declare the kiss as consensual.

The charges detail how they subjected her to ongoing and relentless coercion, involving her friends and relatives.

Upon their court appearance, all three contested the charges. A conviction could lead to a sentence of up to 18 months’ imprisonment for each.

Furthermore, Ms. Durantez is seeking compensation of €100,000 from the four accused for Ms. Hermoso, with at least half of the sum being the responsibility of Mr. Rubiales.

Additionally, she sought a protective order against Mr. Rubiales, prohibiting any contact or approach within 200 meters of Ms. Hermoso for a duration of seven-and-a-half years.

This controversy overshadowed what was a milestone achievement for Spain’s women’s football team, celebrating its first World Cup victory at the time.

In a moment that became the center of the scandal, Mr. Rubiales was seen holding Ms. Hermoso’s face and kissing her during the award ceremony.

His actions further drew criticism when he made an inappropriate gesture by touching his crotch during the victory celebration, in the presence of Spain’s Queen Letizia and Princess Infanta Sofia.

The incident ignited worldwide outrage over sexism within the upper levels of women’s sports, prompting Spanish players to boycott their national team and demand reforms in the country’s women’s football.

FIFA initially suspended Mr. Rubiales, leading to his resignation from his roles as the president of the Spanish football federation and the vice-president of UEFA in September.

In January, FIFA maintained a three-year suspension from all football-related activities against Mr. Rubiales following his appeal.

Mr. Vilda, who had steered the women’s team to World Cup glory and was an associate of Mr. Rubiales, was dismissed in the aftermath but took on a new role as the head coach of Morocco’s women’s team in October.