Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Association (FA), is facing a preliminary sex abuse investigation by prosecutors following an incident during which he kissed Spanish national team player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips without her consent. The investigation is being conducted by Spain’s top criminal court, focusing on whether Rubiales’ actions during the “kiss-gate” incident at the Women’s World Cup constitute sexual assault. The incident occurred after Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final on August 20.
During the celebratory moments, Rubiales hugged midfielder Hermoso tightly and kissed her on the mouth, an action she later stated she did not like and did not consent to. Rubiales, however, claimed that the kiss was consensual, a statement that Hermoso, 33, denied. The incident led to Rubiales’ suspension by FIFA and calls for his resignation from various quarters, including the Spanish government, coaching staff, and players.
The Spanish Prosecutors’ Office initiated the investigation, stating that the sexual act was not consensual. FIFA also opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales and suspended him for three months from national and international football activities pending an internal investigation.
The incident has sparked widespread debate in Spain, a country where gender issues have gained significant attention in recent years. Hermoso received support from fellow players and society at large. Players displayed a banner during a match in support of Hermoso, and many expressed solidarity with her.
Rubiales’ actions have also led to resignations among the coaching staff and calls for his removal from office. Feminist groups organized demonstrations supporting Hermoso and condemning Rubiales’ behavior. The incident highlights the importance of consent and respectful behavior in sports and society as a whole.