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Prosecutor’s Office of Spain’s National Court opens criminal proceedings against Luis Rubiales

Pedro Sanchez receives to the Spain Women Team as World Cup Champions Photo by Oscar J. Barroso / AFP7 via Getty Images

The Prosecutor’s Office of Spain’s National Court has opened criminal proceedings against Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), for a possible crime of sexual assault. The case stems from the incident that occurred on August 20, 2023, when Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso, a player of the Spanish women’s national team, on the lips without her consent during the award ceremony at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

Rubiales has refused to resign from his position despite the uproar caused by his actions, which have been widely condemned by the public, the media, and the government. He has claimed that he was a victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists” and that the kiss was “mutual and with consent” of Hermoso. He has also received some applause from the overwhelming male assembly of the RFEF in an emergency general meeting held on Friday.

Hermoso has said in a video streamed on social media after the kiss that “I didn’t like it, but what can I do”. She later put out a strong statement against Rubiales, and has also received support from her teammates, her coach, and other players and coaches from around the world.

The case of Rubiales has highlighted the need to address the sexism and harassment that still exist in the sport. The case has also raised questions about the role and responsibility of FIFA, which has opened a disciplinary case against Rubiales for violating its code of ethics, but has not taken any further action to protect Hermoso or sanction Rubiales.

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