Luis Rubiales
Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales refused to resign during a general a extraordinary general assembly called by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) in Aug. 2023 RFEF via AFP / Eidan RUBIO

ALABAMA - After months of speculation, it seems like former Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales will face trial for kissing forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup final.

Francisco de Jorge, a judge with Spain's National Court, ruled on Thursday, Jan. 25 that Rubiales be tried on a sexual assault charge after finding that the kiss was "unconsented and carried out unilaterally and in surprising fashion."

If found guilty of sexual assault, Rubiales would face a prison sentence of one to four years. He was also accused of trying to coerce Hermoso to publicly support him by appearing in a video he produced and published. A date for the trial is still to be determined.

On September 10 of last year, Rubiales resigned from his post after nearly five years in charge of Spain's soccer federation. He denied the allegations of wrongdoing, saying that "Jenni was the one who lifted me up. I told her to 'forget about the penalty [that Mary Earps saved]' and I said to her 'a little peck?' and she said 'OK'".

Rubiales was not the only individual to be tried for coercing Hermoso. Judge Francisco de Jorge also ruled that former Spain coach Jorge Vilda pressured Hermoso's brother to get her to appear in the video, while sports director of Spain's men's team Albert Luque, and former head of marketing Rubén Rivera were also involved in the alleged attempt to convince Hermoso's camp.

Just this past October, FIFA announced that Rubiales' behavior during the final in Australia on Aug. 20 had breached article 13 of their disciplinary code, for which he was provisionally suspended for an initial period of 90 days before being banned from all soccer-related activities at national and international levels for three years. Spain's sports authority also banned him from holding a job in sports management for at least three years.

In a social media statement, Hermoso made very clear that "at no time did the conversation to which Mr Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual." She added that Rubiales' claims were false and manipulative, a culture he installed since he was appointed to his post in 2018.

In her Instagram post, Hermoso also mentioned that "these types of incidents add to a long list of situations that the players have been denouncing. This incident is the final straw and what everyone has been able to witness on live television...have been part of our team's daily life for years," she added.

This incident fogged Spain's historic World Cup triumph over England during last year's FIFA Women's World Cup. It marked the first time Spain won the women's competition having played in just two other World Cups prior to Australia-New Zealand 2023.

'La Roja' has been the dominant force in European women's soccer for quite some time already. With their 1-0 victory over England in the final, they became the first women's team in history to hold the U-17, U-20 and senior world titles at the same time.

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