Spanish prosecutors seek jail term for Luis Rubiales for Hermoso kiss

Prosecutors want Rubiales to face a year behind bars for the kiss and 18 months for the charge of coercion.

Former president of the Spanish football federation Luis Rubiales could face 2.5 years behind bars [File: Thomas Coex/AFP]Published On 28 Mar 202428 Mar 2024

Spanish prosecutors are seeking a two-and-a-half year jail term for disgraced ex-football chief Luis Rubiales who is facing trial for kissing Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips against her will, court documents show.

Prosecutors also want Rubiales, who has been charged with sexual assault and coercion, to pay at least 50,000 euros ($54,000) in compensation to Hermoso, they wrote in a document sent to Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court, Spanish media reported on Wednesday.

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During the incident, which took place on August 20 after Spain beat England to win the Women’s World Cup final in Australia, Rubiales held Hermoso’s head in both hands and forcibly kissed her on the lips.

The kiss took place live in front of the world’s cameras, provoking widespread outrage and prompting his suspension by world football governing body FIFA.

At the time, Rubiales brushed it off as a “consensual” peck on the lips, but Hermoso, 33, said it was not.

Under Spanish law, a nonconsensual kiss can be classed as sexual assault – a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence.

Rubiales “grabbed the player’s head with both hands, and surprisingly and without consent or the player’s acceptance, he kissed her on the lips”, the prosecutors wrote.

After realising the kiss could have “personal and professional consequences” with his suspension by FIFA on August 26, Rubiales and his entourage began to exert “constant pressure” on Hermoso so that she “publicly justify” the kiss as consensual.

The pressure caused her “anxiety and intense stress” for several months, they wrote.

Prosecutors requested that the 46-year-old face a year behind bars for the kiss, and 18 months for the charge of coercion.

Three of his former associates are also being tried for putting pressure on Hermoso: former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and Ruben Rivera, marketing boss at the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Hermoso filed a lawsuit against Rubiales in September, telling the judge she had come under pressure to defend him both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands.

In addition, she requested a restraining order barring Rubiales from coming within 200 metres (656 feet) 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 if Rubiales committed a crime of improper management when the RFEF agreed with former Barcelona player Gerard Pique’s Kosmos firm to move the Spanish Super Cup to Saudi Arabia, a judicial source told the Reuters news agency then.

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

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

Source: News Agencies