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Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso testifies against former federation president in kiss controversy

Posted : 03 January 2024

Spanish World Cup-winning footballer Jenni Hermoso has testified in a Madrid court, describing a kiss from former football federation president Luis Rubiales as "unexpected and at no time consensual." The incident occurred during the World Cup final last year when Rubiales, after Spain's victory over England, grabbed Hermoso by the head and kissed her on the lips.


The court is now reviewing evidence, including CCTV footage, to determine whether Rubiales should face trial for sexual assault and coercion. Despite an initial statement indicating consent, Hermoso later complained of pressure from federation officials to endorse it, leading to an investigation into possible coercion.


During her two-and-a-half-hour testimony, Spain's top scorer reaffirmed her position that the kiss was non-consensual, a sentiment she had previously shared with prosecutors several months ago. The court is now scrutinizing the evidence, including the alleged coercion surrounding the initial statement attributed to Hermoso.


The incident took place during the medal ceremony in Sydney on August 20 last year, prompting a criminal complaint from Hermoso. The investigation also involves former coach Jorge Vilda and federation executives Albert Luque and Rubén Rivera.


Under Spanish law, a kiss without consent can be considered a form of sexual assault, a point emphasized by Hermoso, who expressed feeling like a "victim of assault." Luis Rubiales, who resigned as president of the Spanish football federation post-incident, has consistently maintained that the kiss was a "consensual peck." However, the fallout led to his resignation and a subsequent investigation.


Prosecutors opened an inquiry, resulting in Rubiales being prohibited from approaching Hermoso within 200m. The ongoing legal proceedings have added a layer of complexity to the controversy, shedding light on issues of consent and the dynamics within sports organizations.


Jenni Hermoso, a significant figure in the public eye beyond football, recently announced a change of clubs, leaving Mexico's Pachuca for Tigres UANL. Her role in the controversy has elevated her status as an advocate for equality and solidarity.


On New Year's Eve, she commended her Spain teammates for their empowerment efforts, emphasizing the positive changes being ushered in within the realm of women's football and beyond.


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