Luis Rubiales ordered to testify to Spanish judge about unsolicited kiss at World Cup

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Spain Press Conference - Qatar University Training Site 1, Doha, Qatar - November 21, 2022 President of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales during a press conference REUTERS/Albert Gea
Former president of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, could go to trial. (REUTERS/Albert Gea)

Luis Rubiales' resignation from his role as president of Spain's soccer federation did not remove him from the hot seat.

A judge is investigating the 46-year-old's kiss of Spain forward Jenni Hermoso at the Women's World Cup and ordered him to give testimony, according to a report from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Rubiales appeared at Spain's National Court in Madrid, where Judge Francisco de Jorge required him to answer questions Friday, court documents reportedly showed.

Hermoso, 33, filed an official complaint with Spanish prosecutors on Sept. 6, accusing Rubiales of sexual assault. He forcibly kissed her on the lips during the celebration of Spain's Women's World Cup win over England for the title.

He issued a video apology the next day, which Hermoso says she was asked to join.

She was vocal about her discomfort from the incident and said that it was not consensual. Despite her own dispute, Rubiales claimed Hermoso did consent to the kiss. Hermoso's case also accuses him of coercion, as he allegedly pressured the player and her family to speak out in his defense as soon as public outrage began.

In the face of Rubiales' alleged intimidation, Hermoso has been firm. She weathered his apparent defiance as he initially refused to resign in the face of a provisional 90-day suspension, a FIFA investigation and mounting pressure from all directions. His mother even locked herself in a church and went on a hunger strike to protest how her son has been treated by the media.

Those holdouts came to an end and he announced he was resigning from his position Sunday. Now, de Jorge is executing the preliminary investigation into Hermoso's claims as he works to determine whether the case should see trial.

Spain passed a new sexual consent law last year that eliminated the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” making any non-consensual sexual act punishable. It could present Rubiales with a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if he is found guilty.