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Soccer Federation President Faces Complaint Over Unwanted Kiss After Women’s World Cup Final



 Soccer Federation President Faces Complaint Over Unwanted Kiss After Women s World Cup Final
Soccer Federation President Faces Complaint Over Unwanted Kiss After Women’s World Cup Final

Spanish star player Jennifer Hermoso has taken legal action against Luis Rubiales, the president of Spain’s soccer federation, following an unwanted kiss after the Women’s World Cup final. The official complaint was filed on Tuesday, as confirmed by a spokesperson from the Spanish prosecutor’s office to CNN. The statement was made at the office of the state attorney general to protect the privacy of the victim.

Spanish prosecutors had already initiated an investigation into Rubiales on August 28, stating their intention to contact Hermoso within two weeks to inform her of her rights as a victim of a potential sexual aggression crime. With Hermoso’s legal complaint, the Spanish justice system is now able to proceed with a case against Rubiales, who has refused to resign as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Rubiales has offered an apology and characterized the kiss, which took place after the Spanish national team’s victory on August 20, as “mutual.” This claim was refuted by Hermoso, who emphasized that she did not feel respected. FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days during ongoing disciplinary proceedings.

Last week, the Spanish Court of Arbitration in Sport (TAD) accepted the case against Rubiales but dismissed the government’s argument that his actions were “very serious.” As a result, immediate suspension was not granted, leading government officials to request intervention from the tribunal instead.

The unwelcome kiss has caused significant upheaval in Spanish soccer. The government has called for Rubiales’ resignation, and the RFEF removed Jorge Vilda from his position as coach of the women’s national team. Vilda was replaced by Montse Tomé, who becomes the first woman to hold the coaching role in Spanish national team history.

The legal complaint filed by Hermoso is the latest development in this ongoing saga, which began when video footage from the World Cup medal ceremony on August 20 showed Rubiales embracing the Spanish star, subsequently placing his hands on her head before forcibly kissing her. He then patted her on the back as she walked away.

Several days later, in an Instagram live video from a celebratory locker room, Hermoso expressed her dissatisfaction with the incident, saying, “Hey, I didn’t like it, eh,” in response to questions about the kiss. On August 25, after Rubiales showed no intention of stepping down as RFEF president, Hermoso took to social media again, highlighting that she felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulsive, sexist act that lacked her consent. She concluded by expressing that she was not treated with respect.

Over 80 Spanish soccer players subsequently endorsed a statement supporting Hermoso and declaring that they will not return to the national team if the current leaders remain in their positions. With Pedro Rocha serving as interim RFEF president, efforts have begun to regenerate the federation. Controversial coach Vilda was dismissed, despite his team’s World Cup victory, and his deputy, Tomé, was appointed in his place. Rocha has also committed to implementing further structural changes within the RFEF during a meeting with Víctor Francos, the president of the High Council of Sport.

It remains uncertain whether the changes enacted thus far, including Rubiales’ suspension and Vilda’s dismissal, will convince the players to return to the national team. The team is scheduled to play a Women’s Nations League match against Sweden on September 22. Nevertheless, Verónica Boquete, a former Spain captain and one of the signatories on the statement, stated in an interview with radio station Cadena COPE that changing the head coach alone is insufficient. Boquete emphasized the need for a more profound transformation, indicating that the federation has yet to fully comprehend the underlying issue. Despite this, she expressed optimism that the players will ultimately come back.

CNN’s Patrick Sung contributed to this report.

Ahmed Lawal

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