Spanish footballer files legal complaint over Women’s World Cup final kiss

Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso has taken legal action by filing a criminal complaint against the suspended football chief, Luis Rubiales, for kissing her on the lips during the Women’s World Cup final.

Prosecutors are investigating whether Rubiales can be charged with “sexual assault” for the unsolicited kiss. Hermoso’s complaint, submitted on Tuesday, increases the likelihood of the court proceeding with the case and charging Rubiales.

The National Court’s prosecutor’s office will formally present its complaint against Rubiales soon. Under Spanish law, sexual assault encompasses various offenses, with penalties ranging from fines to four years in prison for non-consensual acts.

Rubiales, the president of the Spanish football federation, faced widespread criticism for the forced kiss, which occurred during the medal ceremony after Spain’s victory in Sydney on August 20. Hermoso described the unwanted kiss as making her feel vulnerable and like a victim of assault in a social media statement, characterizing it as an impulsive, inappropriate, and non-consensual act.

Rubiales maintains that the kiss was consensual. FIFA provisionally suspended him for 90 days when he refused to resign from his position. In protest of Rubiales’ defense and comments against “false feminism,” 81 women’s team players went on strike, vowing not to return until there was a change in RFEF leadership.

Spain’s top sports court, TAD, also initiated an investigation against Rubiales following a government complaint. Rubiales, however, pledged to defend himself and prove that the kiss was mutual and consensual.


The RFEF issued an apology for Rubiales’ behavior and dismissed Spain women’s coach Jorge Vilda in the wake of the scandal. Vilda’s former assistant, Montserrat Tome, became the new coach, marking the first time a woman has led the team. The team’s next matches are in Nations League qualifying against Sweden and Switzerland on September 22 and 26.

Before the World Cup, 15 players had refused to play for the national team due to disputes with Vilda and the federation, though some eventually relented and three were called up for the tournament. After the tournament, Rubiales pledged to extend Vilda’s contract by four years and give him a significant pay increase.

In a related development, men’s team defender Dani Carvajal faced criticism for comments he made on Spanish radio, where he refrained from taking sides without knowing all the details. Carvajal clarified his stance in a subsequent news conference, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the presumption of innocence and expressing solidarity with Hermoso during her difficult time.

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