Luis Rubiales to testify in Spanish court as part of investigation into Women’s World Cup kiss

      Luis Rubiales to testify in Spanish court as part of investigation into Women’s World Cup kiss

Rubiales speaks at a press conference in Madrid last year. Irina R Hipolito/Shutterstock CNN  — 

Luis Rubiales, the former head of Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF), has been summoned to testify before a Spanish court on Friday as part of an investigation into his unwanted kiss on Jennifer Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final.

This comes after Spain’s National Court admitted a complaint by Spanish prosecutors against Rubiales for “the crimes of sexual assault and coercion” on Monday.

In a press release issued by the court, judge Luis Francisco de Jorge said: “It is agreed that the testimony will be heard, in the context of being a suspect, with legal assistance, of LUIS MANUEL RUBIALES BÉJAR next Friday, September 15, at 12 p.m. [local time] … before this central court of investigation.”

After weeks of criticism in Spain, Rubiales resigned from his position as RFEF president on Sunday.

He has previously apologized for kissing Hermoso and described it as “mutual” – a claim the player has denied, saying she did not consent and was not respected.

The admittance of the prosecutor’s complaint this week is part of the Spanish legal process, which allowed the court to begin gathering evidence, including Friday’s expected testimony.

That process also includes requesting videos of the kiss from various news outlets, as well as footage of Spain’s Women’s World Cup medal ceremony and locker room celebrations, a court spokesman told CNN.

In the aftermath of Rubiales’ kiss, more than 80 Spanish soccer players – including all of the World Cup-winning squad – put their names on a statement supporting Hermoso, saying they would not return to the national team “if the current leaders continue” in their posts.

As part of a shake-up in Spanish soccer, interim RFEF president Pedro Rocha fired Jorge Vilda from his position as head coach of the women’s national team, replacing him with Montse Tomé – the first woman to take up the role.

In a meeting with Víctor Francos, the president of the High Council of Sport, Rocha also vowed to make more “structural changes” in RFEF.

It is unclear at this point if the changes made to date – including the resignation of Rubiales and Vilda’s sacking – will convince the players to come back to the national team, which has a Women’s Nations League match against Sweden on September 22.

Asked by CNN on Monday if the federation was in contact with the players and if they had confirmed that they would play, a spokesperson said: “Our department for women’s football has been working on that for days. Conversations continue.”

Spain hero Olga Carmona, who scored the winning goal in the final, said on Monday night that she was still undecided if she would return now that Rubiales has resigned and Vilda has been sacked.

“Well, there’s been more than Rubiales’ resignation, there’s also been other changes, we have a new coach,” Carmona said. “First of all, we have to wait for the call list and see if I’m on it or not and see what happens from there.

“Rubiales’ resignation is still very recent, it only happened last night, and so we have to discuss as a group and see what happens.”

CNN’s Pau Mosquera and Laura Pérez Maestro contributed to this report.


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