Prosecutors accuse Luis Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion against Hermoso

The 46-year-old faces threats other than a possible criminal trial. Credit: AP

Spanish state prosecutors have accused Luis Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion against a player after he kissed her on the lips, the country's prosecutor's office has announced.

Rubiales, the now-suspended president of the Spanish FA, kissed Jenni Hermoso (who has always maintained she did not consent) on the lips during the Women's World Cup Final awards ceremony after Spain beat England 1-0.

Prosecutors presented a case against Rubiales to Spain’s National Court in Madrid two days after Hermoso formally accused him of sexual assault.

According to a sexual consent law passed last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault.

The new law eliminated the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” sanctioning any unconsented sexual act.

Prosecutors added that Rubiales could have committed an act of coercion when, according to Hermoso, he pressured her to speak out in his defense immediately after the scandal.

Rubiales has repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual, but Hermoso has always denied that in a series of statements issued by her and her players’ union.

Immediately after the incident, she was filmed in an Instagram live saying: "I did not enjoy that".

Prosecutors have asked the judge that Rubiales appear before a court to give preliminary testimony.

Rubiales congratulates Salma Paralluelo after kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips moments before. Credit: PA

If the National Court judge agrees the hear the case, it would lead to a formal court investigation that will end with a recommendation for the case to either be dismissed or go to trial.

The 46-year-old is facing a number of repercussions, beyond the court of law.

He was suspended from his post by Fifa a day after refusing to step down as head of Spain's FA.

He delivered a defiant speech to the general assembly of his federation in which he said he was victim of a “witch hunt” by “false feminists" and repeated five times he would not step down.

Many in the audience, including the now sacked head coach of Spain's women's team Jorge Vilda, applauded.

The current president of the Spanish federation (Rfef), Pedro Rocha, wrote a letter distancing the organisation from Rubiales' behaviour. Credit: AP

Rubiales has been banned from his post for 90 days while Fifa disciplinary judges consider his case.

He also faces action from the Spanish government. A government legal panel overseeing sports has opened a probe to determine if he abused his authority by kissing Hermoso or tainted the image of Spain with his conduct.

He faces being deemed unfit to hold his post for up to two years.

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