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Spain judge proposes Luis Rubiales go on trial for Women's World Cup kiss

Spanish judge has ruled that Luis Rubiales, a prominent figure in Spanish football, will face trial for an incident involving a kiss with a player during the Women's World Cup.

Football Spain judge proposes Luis Rubiales go on trial for Women's World Cup kiss osf
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First Published Jan 25, 2024, 3:51 PM IST

A Spanish judge has determined that Luis Rubiales, a notable figure in Spanish football, is set to stand trial for an incident in which he kissed a player during the Women's World Cup. The initiation of legal proceedings brings attention to the controversial event, prompting inquiries into the potential consequences for Rubiales.

Judge Francisco de Jorge determined that the kiss by Rubiales was "unconsented and carried out unilaterally and in a surprising fashion," according to the court.

State prosecutors have levelled accusations of sexual assault against Rubiales and claimed that he coerced Hermoso into publicly supporting him amid the ensuing public backlash. Despite initially portraying himself as a victim of a campaign orchestrated by "false feminists," Rubiales eventually resigned from his position due to his conduct during the World Cup awards ceremony in Sydney in August. He vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

The judge also decided that, in addition to Rubiales, former Spain coach Jorge Vilda, sports director of Spain’s men’s team Albert Luque, and the former head of marketing for the federation should face trial for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to defend Rubiales, a request she refused.

The trial date remains to be determined.

Jenni Hermoso provided testimony before the investigative judge in January. The 33-year-old forward, Spain’s all-time leading scorer playing in the Mexican league, has garnered widespread support in the country. The kiss scandal has sparked hope for addressing sexism in sports.

Under a sexual consent law enacted in 2022, Rubiales could be subject to a fine or a prison sentence ranging from one to four years if found guilty, as per the prosecutors’ office in Madrid. The law eliminated the distinction between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” penalizing any unconsented sexual act.

FIFA imposed a three-year ban on Rubiales, extending beyond the men’s 2026 World Cup. However, his ban will conclude before the next women’s tournament in 2027. Spain’s sports authority has also deemed him unfit to hold a position in sports management for three years.

Also Read: Xavi suggests possibility of leaving Barcelona following Athletic Club defeat

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