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Jenni Hermoso (centre) arriving at court this morning in Spain. Alamy

Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso testifies about Rubiales's World Cup kiss

Hermoso testified that the kiss was “at no point consensual” in a Spanish court today.

SPANISH WORLD CUP star Jenni Hermoso has told a judge that the kiss on her by disgraced former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales was “at no point consensual” and that she had come under pressure to defend his actions.

Arriving at the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid just before 10,00 am (9am Irish Time), the 33-year-old went to testify before Judge Francisco de Jorge, who is investigating Rubiales on allegations of sexual assault and coercion.

“Now everything is in the hands of the justice system and that’s all I can say,” she told reporters on leaving court several hours later.

A judicial source told AFP that she had “ratified the statement made at the public prosecutor’s office that the kiss was completely unexpected and at no point was it consensual”.

During the incident on 20 August, the then head of Spain’s RFEF football federation held her head in both hands and kissed Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the World Cup in Australia.

He has said the act was “a consensual peck” but Hermoso has insisted it was not.

She filed a lawsuit against him in September and told the judge she had come under pressure to defend Rubiales, both on the flight back from Australia and on a subsequent team holiday to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands.

“After the event, the situation experienced by the victim, both on the flight back to Spain and during her stay in Ibiza was one of constant harassment by the parties under investigation, which disrupted her normal life, causing her anxiety and distress,” the source said, quoting Hermoso’s testimony.

Fine or up to 4 years prison

Under Spanish law, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault – a criminal category that groups all types of sexual violence.

Penalties for such a kiss range from a fine to four years in prison.

The 46-year-old Rubiales, who is subject to a restraining order banning him from being within 200 metres of Hermoso, is also accused of “coercion” for allegedly pressuring her to justify his actions, which were broadcast live round the world.

The kiss provoked widespread outrage and prompted his suspension by world football governing body FIFA.

Rubiales appeared in court on September 15.

In October, the judge quizzed three others over allegations they also pressured Hermoso – former women’s coach Jorge Vilda, men’s team director Albert Luque and RFEF marketing boss Ruben Rivera.

Numerous other witnesses have testified in court over the pressure faced by Hermoso, among them two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas and two other Spanish teammates.

© AFP 2024