Prosecutors in Spain are asking a court to consider sexual assault charges against Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales over his kiss of Jenni Hermoso during the Women’s World Cup medals ceremony.

As The Associated Press notes, Spanish state prosecutors accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion, though formal charges have not yet been brought. Prosecutors presented their case before a National Court judge Friday, Sept. 8, and asked that Rubiales give preliminary testimony. If the judge ultimately agrees to hear the case, a court investigation will follow, after which it will be decided if the case should be dismissed or go to trial.

If the criminal case goes forward and Rubiales is found guilty, prosecutors have said that he could be fined or face one to four years in prison.

The hearing occurred days after Hermoso formally accused Rubiales of kissing her without her consent after Spain beat England to win its first Women’s World Cup title. Rubiales has insisted the kiss was consensual and so far rejected calls for him to resign from his post, though soccer’s international governing body FIFA has suspended him.

Hermoso has called Rubiales’ depiction of the kiss “categorically false and part of the manipulative culture he has created.” She also previously claimed that she was put “under constant pressure to come out with some sort of statement that would justify the acts” of Rubiales and that the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has “pressured my close circle (family, friends, teammates, etc) so I would give a statement that had little or nothing to do with how I felt.” 

Prosecutors argued that these claims Hermoso made about being pressured to speak out in defense of Rubiales could constitute as coercion.


Along with the potential criminal case, Spain’s Administrative Sports Court has also launched an investigation into Rubiales. While the investigation hinders the Spanish government’s ability to outright suspend Rubiales, it could still end with a two-year ban for him. 

Since the kiss, Hermoso has received an outpouring of support from soccer players around the world, as well as her teammates. After Rubiales defiantly refused to resign last month, the Spanish national team issued a letter saying they would not play again until significant leadership changes were made. While Rubiales technically still holds his post, the RFEF did fire Spain’s coach, Jorge Vilda, who has also faced serious criticism during his tenure (last year, 15 players departed the national team in protest, and only three returned to the World Cup-winning squad). The Spanish players have yet to say whether or not this is enough for them to return to the pitch for their next scheduled match, Sept. 22, against Sweden.