Copy of 2023-09-04T195635Z_787662006_RC2U13A7OEE0_RTRMADP_3_SOCCER-WORLDCUP-KISS-1694008331175
Women hold placards, depicting red card in football, that read "Stop Violence against Women" during a protest against Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales and in support of the player Jenni Hermoso at Sant Jaume Square in Barcelona on September 4. Image Credit: Reuters

Madrid: Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso has accused Luis Rubiales of sexual assault for kissing her on the lips without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final, the country’s prosecutors’ office said on Wednesday.

Rubiales, the now-suspended president of the Spanish football federation, kissed Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England to win the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.

Rubiales has insisted the kiss was consensual. Hermoso has denied that. She also said she and her family were pressured by the federation to show her support for Rubiales in the immediate aftermath of the scandal caused by the kiss that tarnished her team’s victory.

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Spain’s government, players’ unions, players and many citizens have come out in support of Hermoso. Rubiales, meanwhile, has become a football outcast even while he refuses to resign.

Rubiales was suspended from his post by Fifa on August 27, a day after he refused to step down when he delivered a defiant speech to the general assembly of his federation in which he claimed he was victim of a “witch hunt” by “false feminists.”

The prosecutor’s office said Hermoso made the accusation on Tuesday. Prosecutors had said last week that they were going to meet with Hermoso to give her the opportunity to present an accusation against Rubiales.

Hermoso, a 33-year-old forward, now plays for Mexican club Pachuca after a long career with top Spanish and European clubs, including Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid.