Hermoso files sexual assault complaint against Rubiales over World Cup kiss

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Madrid: Spanish soccer star Jenni Hermoso has filed a sexual assault complaint over the unsolicited kiss by football federation president Luis Rubiales following Spain’s win in the Women’s World Cup in Sydney, the Spanish national prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

Jennifer Hermoso and Luis Rubiales on the podium in Sydney after the World Cup final on August 20.Credit: Reuters

With the complaint, Rubiales could face criminal charges.

Neither Hermoso’s representatives nor Rubiales were immediately available for comment.

The latest development comes a day after the federation, RFEF, sacked the national team coach Jorge Vilda.

Vilda hit back on Wednesday, saying he didn’t expect to be fired and adding that it was “unfair” and “undeserved” weeks after winning the World Cup.

RFEF announced the decision to sack Vilda on Tuesday after a new board formed in the wake of the scandal.

FIFA, the world governing body, last week moved to temporarily suspend Rubiales while an investigation into the allegedly non-consensual kiss with Hermoso took place.

The RFEF later announced it had appointed Montse Tome to succeed Vilda. Tome, the first woman to hold the job, was an assistant coach on Vilda’s team for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“I am as well as I can be for someone who has been world champions 16 days ago, renewed his contract for five more years with a higher salary 10 days ago and then today to be unfairly dismissed,” Vilda said in an interview with Spanish radio Cadena Ser on Wednesday.

Considered to be a close ally, Vilda applauded Rubiales when he refused to resign on August 25, but later issued statements condemning his behaviour.

The suspended RFEF president praised Vilda for the World Cup triumph in his speech and offered him a new four-year contract and a significant pay rise.

“It was a brief meeting with (interim president) Pedro Rocha and the vice president for equality. Their explanation was that of ‘structural changes’,” Vilda said about how he learned he was being sacked.

“My conscience is clear because I have given 100 per cent every day. I said I didn’t understand and that I didn’t think my dismissal was deserved.

“I will never applaud anything related to machismo. The president was praising my work and announced my renewal, that’s what I applauded. The rest… when 150 people around you are applauding, it is very difficult to be the only one who does not.”

Vilda had been under fire since last year after 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation because of inadequate coaching methods and calling for conditions to match those of the men’s squad.

Danae Boronat, a sports presenter who interviewed Spain’s leading female players for her book Don’t Call Them Girls, Call Them Footballers, said players accused Vilda of micromanaging, including telling senior players what to say in interviews.

He was also accused of invasions of privacy, including banning them from locking their hotel room doors at night.

The furore involving Rubiales has quickly spiralled into a national debate over women’s rights and sexist behaviour. Fifty-eight top female players announced last week they were quitting the national team until changes were made to the RFEF leadership.

Reuters, AP

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