Luis Rubiales: Spanish prosecutor files complaint with high court

A prosecutor has filed a complaint with Spain’s high court against suspended football federation president Luis Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.

Rubiales kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win, which she says was not consensual.

Hermoso filed a legal complaint over the kiss on Tuesday.

It is now up to the court to present formal charges against the 46-year-old.

Hermoso’s complaint was one of sexual assault but prosecutor Marta Durantez Gil has also added an allegation of coercion when filing to the high court.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office said Hermoso told Gil that her relatives had suffered pressure from Rubiales and his “professional entourage” to say that she “justified and approved what happened”.

“The prosecutors request that Luis Rubiales be questioned as an accused and Jenni Hermoso as a victim,” the prosecutor’s office added.

It also requests that information is gathered from authorities in Australia, where the incident took place.

Prior to the kiss, Rubiales had been seen grabbing his crotch while celebrating Spain’s 1-0 win over England in Sydney.

A high court judge will now assess the complaint and decide whether to accept or archive the request. If accepted, a magistrate will be assigned to lead an investigation, which will conclude either with a recommendation for the case to go to trial or be dismissed.

The charge of sexual assault under Spanish law can carry a punishment ranging from a fine to four years in prison.

“The high court often tackles crimes with an international dimension, such as terrorism or organised crime. It is involved in this case because the alleged assault by Mr Rubiales took place in Australia,” BBC Madrid correspondent Guy Hedgecoe explained.

Spanish prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation on 28 August, looking into whether the incident amounts to a crime of sexual assault.

At the time, Spain’s top criminal court said it was opening its investigation in light of the “unequivocal nature” of 33-year-old Hermoso’s statements, saying it was necessary “to determine their legal significance”.

Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) regional leaders called on Rubiales to resign last month but he has refused to step down since the incident, telling an extraordinary general assembly “I will not resign, I will not resign”, and claiming “a social assassination is taking place”.

Football’s world governing body Fifa provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days and opened disciplinary proceedings against him.

World Cup-winning manager Jorge Vilda was sacked on 5 September amid the ongoing scandal.

Before he was sacked, most of Vilda’s coaching staff resigned and 81 players refused to play for Spain in protest at Rubiales’ actions and refusal to quit.

Politicians, footballers and celebrities have spoken out against Rubiales, while protesters gathered at the RFEF headquarters to demand his resignation.

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