Spain: Rubiales denies wrongdoing in sexual assault hearing

A judge has imposed a restraining order preventing the former Spanish football boss from approaching Jenni Hermoso. Spanish women footballers still on strike for federation reforms.

Restraining order imposed on Luis Rubiales in Jenni Hermoso Case (Photo: Royal Spanish Football Federation / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Restraining order imposed on Luis Rubiales in Jenni Hermoso Case (Photo: Royal Spanish Football Federation / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


Spain's former football federation boss Luis Rubiales has denied allegations of sexual assault and coercion filed by national team player and World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso, during a preliminary court hearing on Friday,15 September.

Hermoso's allegations come on the backdrop of Rubiales' controversial kiss on the lips of the player during celebrations following the Women's World Cup final game last month.

The investigating judge imposed a restraining order on Rubiales that bars him from contacting or coming within 200 meters (656 feet) of Hermoso. State prosecutors had requested a ban of up to 500 meters.

Prosecutors also called for Rubiales to be subject to a court check-in every 15 days to ensure he does not flee the country. The judge rejected that request.

The hourlong hearing took place at the National Court and was closed to the public. Neither Rubiales nor his defense lawyer, Olga Tubau, made statements to the media outside the court.

The judge would have to decide whether to send the former federation chief to trial.

If found guilty of a sexual assault charge, Rubiales could be sentenced to prison for a term between one and four years.

Rubiales held Hermoso's head with both hands and kissed her on the lips during the medal ceremony that followed Spain's 1-0 win over England in the final of the Women's World Cup in Australia on 20 August .

Hermoso, who last week filed a complaint against him, said the kiss had left her feeling "vulnerable and like the victim of an assault," with a statement on social media describing it as "an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part."

Rubiales rejected accusations of sexual assault, insisting the kiss was "spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual." Nevertheless, he announced last week quitting his position as president of the Spanish Football Federation under mounting pressure.

World football governing body FIFA suspended the 46-year-old Rubiales from his post on 27 August for 90 days, pending an investigation.

Players on the Spanish women's football team maintained a strike announced last month in reaction to the Rubiales kiss. The players said on Friday they will continue to reject national team call-ups until more changes at the federation are made.

The announcement came as newly named coach Montse Tome was scheduled to announce on Friday her squad for two upcoming games against Sweden and Switzerland later this month for the Nations League.

The players would release a statement later on Friday, 15 September outlining the changes they still expect to see before they can return, Spanish media reported.

Some 81 players signed last month a letter announcing they would boycott the national team until significant changes were made at the head of the federation. They included the 23 world champions.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines