Luis Rubiales asked to resign, could face charges for unsolicited kiss of Jenni Hermoso at Women’s World Cup
Luis Rubiales is being investigated by officials after his unsolicited kiss at the Womens’ World Cup earlier this month, and now the Spanish soccer federation wants him gone.
Rubiales is being investigated by Spanish prosecutors and he could face sexual aggression charges after he kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s win over England in the World Cup final in Australia on Aug. 20. Hermoso has said multiple times that the kiss was nonconsensual.
“We have agreed to contact Jennifer Hermoso in order to inform her of her rights as a victim of an alleged crime of sexual aggression in the next 15 days,” the Prosecutors Office wrote in a statement Monday, per CNN.
Several hours later, Spain’s soccer federation officially asked Rubiales to resign from his post.
“After the latest events and unacceptable behavior that have severely damaged the image of Spanish football, the presidents ask, with immediate effect, that Luis Rubiales presents his resignation as president of the president of the RFEF,” the organization said in a statement.
If Rubiales were to step down, Pedro Rocha would take his place. Rocha has been the acting vice-president under Rubiales.
Rubiales had already been suspended from soccer-related actions by FIFA for at least 90 days. His suspension is also pending a full disciplinary investigation by the world soccer governing body. Rubiales apologized for his actions the day after he kissed Hermoso and grabbed his crotch on camera, but refused to resign from his post despite multiple calls by players, coaches and Spanish government officials.
The Spanish soccer federation reportedly believes Hermoso lied about her consent and said in a statement Saturday it will seek legal action against her. María Dolores Martínez Madrona, the federation’s sexual violence protocol delegate, also announced in a statement Sunday that the federation did open an investigation into Rubiales.
“Our protocol is currently activated and in the midst of investigating the events, thus we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved,” she said in the statement. “As the Protection Delegate for Sexual Violence, my duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee.”
Rubiales’ mother, meanwhile, reportedly locked herself in a church and will go on a hunger strike to protest the treatment of her son.
The punishment for sexual assault in Spain is a one- to five-year prison sentence, according to the European Institute for Gender Equality.