Former Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales will stand on trial for kissing star forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent in the aftermath of Spain's win at the Women’s World Cup final.
This comes after Rubiales was ordered to testify about the scandal in September. He was subsequently given a restraining order blocking him from going near Hermoso, who testified before investigative judge Francisco de Jorge this month.
On Thursday, the judge ruled that Rubiales’ kiss was “unconsented and carried out unilaterally and in a surprising fashion,” according to the Associated Press.
The trial date for Rubiales has yet to be determined. State prosecutors will look to see him fined or imprisoned for up to a year. The punishments would come under a new law that eliminated the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” allowing any nonconsensual sexual act to be sanctioned.
The 46-year-old is accused of sexual assault by the prosecution, as well as allegedly attempting to coerce Hermoso into supporting him publicly amid the backlash for his actions. The judge reportedly found sufficient evidence that Rubiales pressured Hermoso to appear in a video he posted to quell uproar from fans. Hermoso, Spain's all-time leading scorer, refused to participate.
She decided not to defend Rubiales in the face of alleged additional pressure from the director of the Spanish men’s team, Albert Luque, and the federation's former head of marketing Rubén Rivera. Both could be tried, as well.
Rubiales last made headlines in October when FIFA banned him from soccer for three years. He'll be barred from holding a position in sports management ahead of the men's 2026 World Cup, but his punishment expires before the next women’s tournament in 2027.
The unwanted kiss wasn't the only factor considered when Rubiales was deemed "unfit" for leadership following Spain's win. He was also seen grabbing his crotch as part of a vulgar victory during the celebrations, an action that took place near Queen Letizia and Princess Sofia of Spain.
Hermoso plays in the Mexican league and has continued to receive support in the wake of the kiss scandal, which sparked a series of larger displays.
Spain's women's soccer players refused to play until Rubiales resigned and the Spanish women's national team coaching staff later announced it was resigning. Despite claiming he was the victim of a campaign led by “false feminists,” Rubiales resigned from his position in August.