Spanish judge urges trial for ex-FIA chief Luis Rubiales for kissing Jenni Hermoso at 2023 Women’s World Cup

Since its inception, women’s football has steadily grown and made significant strides, garnering considerable fanfare and support over the years. The Women’s World Cup stands as a testament to the increasing backing that the sport has enjoyed recently.

The tournament broke viewership records and gained global acclaim for its outreach and impact. However, its standout moment was marred by controversy when Spain’s Jenni Hermoso appeared to be forcefully kissed on the lips by the president of the Spanish football federation, Rubiales.

Spanish court urges Luis Rubiales to stand trial

To say that the actions of Luis Rubiales shocked the entire world would be an understatement. Rubiales seemed to forcefully kiss Spain’s Jenni Hermoso on the lips, an incident captured on live television. Despite this, Rubiales vehemently claimed the kiss was “consensual,” and to support his innocence, his mother even went on a hunger strike.

None of their shenanigans worked, as the protestors filed a case against Luis Rubiales in Spain’s top courts. After Hermoso filed a criminal case against him, Rubiales was subsequently banned from all football-related activities for three years.

However, on Thursday, a Spanish High Court said that Rubiales should stand trial for his actions, along with former coach Jorge Vilda, as well as Albert Luque, the men’s team’s sport director, and Ruben Rivera, the federation’s marketing chief for forcing Hermoso to admit that the kiss was consensual.

What will be the punishment for Luis Rubiales if convicted?

Public prosecutors and Ms. Hermoso now have 10 days to formalize their accusations, after which a trial will proceed. If Rubiales is found guilty of sexual assault, he could face a prison sentence ranging from one to four years.

Apart from the Spanish court, other organizations, including FIFA, are conducting investigations into the case. If FIFA’s investigation concludes unfavorably, Luis Rubiales could face a ban from football for up to 15 years. Currently, he is suspended from participating in any football activity for three years, a penalty imposed when he was initially found guilty in 2022.

The incident also brought to light decades-old allegations of disrespect and controlling behaviour by male coaches and managers in Spain towards female players.

Apart from this case of sexual assault, Luis Rubiales is also under investigation by anticorruption prosecutors over irregularities in the use of federation funds.

Should Luis Rubiales be permanently suspended from football? Let us know of your thoughts in the comments below.

SZ Desk

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