Jail term sought for Rubiales over unsolicited kiss – reports

A prosecutor at Spain’s High Court is seeking a prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for former football federation (RFEF) chief Luis Rubiales over his unsolicited kiss on player Jenni Hermoso, court documents seen by Reuters and EFE on Wednesday showed.

Prosecutor Marta Durántez charged Rubiales with one count of sexual assault and one of coercion for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the kiss, offences carrying jail terms of one year and one-and-a-half years, respectively.

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Rubiales, 46, grabbed Hermoso and kissed her on the lips on Aug. 20 of last year during the awards ceremony after Spain‘s victory in the Women’s World Cup in Sydney.

Hermoso and her teammates said the kiss was unwanted and demeaning, but Rubiales argued it was consensual and denied any wrongdoing.

The prosecutor also accused the former coach of the women’s national team, Jorge Vilda, the team’s current sporting director, Albert Luque, and the federation’s head of marketing, Rubén Rivera, of coercing Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual.

The indictment said the three officials harassed Hermoso by exerting “constant and repeated acts of pressure” directly on the player and through her friends and family. They each face 18 months sentences, respectively, as well.

All three have denied wrongdoing when they appeared before the court.

Durántez seeks to have Rubiales pay €50,000 ($54,080) in damages to Hermoso, and another €50,000 jointly paid by Rubiales, Vilda, Luque and Rivera.

In addition, she requested a restraining order barring Rubiales from coming within 200 metres of Hermoso and from communicating with her for the next seven-and-a-half years.

If convicted and sentenced as requested by the prosecutor, Rubiales would not necessarily have to go to prison. Spain’s criminal code allows judges to “exceptionally” suspend jail terms if — as in this case — none of the sentences imposed individually exceeds two years.

Rubiales has been named in a separate corruption probe that shook the RFEF last week, when police searched the federation’s headquarters and an apartment belonging to Rubiales, arresting seven people.

A Spanish court has been investigating since June 2022 whether Rubiales committed a crime of improper management when the RFEF agreed with former Barcelona player Gerard Piqué’s Kosmos firm to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, a judicial source told Reuters then.

Rubiales, who was in the Dominican Republic during last week’s searches, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and told El Español newspaper he would cooperate with the investigation.

The RFEF, meanwhile, is set to conduct a forensic audit over alleged irregular contracts of Rubiales.

“The RFEF disassociates itself from the actions of its former president and all those who could be involved and remembers that this institution is far above its leaders,” a statement said. “During the last six months, all efforts have been directed to achieving this stabilisation and closing the crisis generated, working to make football talk again.

“The RFEF is aware of the importance of the current moment, months away from a European Championship, Olympic Games and the presentation of the World Cup bid. Therefore, the stability of this institution is guaranteed to FIFA, UEFA, the CSD (Spain’s Sports Council) and all fans. Spanish football is much more than its former presidents or leaders and that is how it wants to be conveyed to public opinion.”

A court source said his lawyers told the judge he would return from the Dominican Republic on April 6.

Information from Reuters and EFE news agency was used in this report.