A Spanish High Court judge proposed on Thursday that former football federation chief Luis Rubiales stand trial for kissing player Jenni Hermoso’s lips after Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup.
The court said in a statement that the judge, Francisco de Jorge, also sought a trial for former women’s team coach Jorge Vilda, as well as Albert Luque, the men’s team’s sport director, and Ruben Rivera, the federation’s marketing chief, for pressuring Hermoso to say the kiss was consensual.
The court quoted the judge as saying that, contrary to Rubiales’ statements, the investigation showed the kiss «was not consensual and was a unilateral and surprising initiative.»
Prosecutors and lawyers can still present their arguments, after which the court will decide whether and when to call the trial. Up until now, the case has been handled by an investigative judge.
Hermoso lodged a criminal complaint of sexual assault and coercion in September over the kiss on the winners’ podium on Aug. 20, saying she felt «vulnerable and a victim of an aggression.»
The case shocked the sporting world and sparked a MeToo movement in Spain, with protests and further accusations by women that prominent or powerful men had forced intimacy on them.
In Spain, the social media hashtag #SeAcabo («It’s over») became a rallying cry.
Beside the kiss itself, the judge found evidence Rubiales and the co-defendants may have committed a related offence in their coordinated action to make Hermoso «record a video in which she would say the kiss was consensual.»
Hermoso refused and eventually filed the criminal complaint.
Rubiales resigned as Spanish FA chief in September and is no longer working in the sport as he serves a three-year FIFA ban from all football-related activities, while Vilda was appointed as Morocco’s women’s national team head coach in October.