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Prosecutors request restraining order against Rubiales to keep him away from Hermoso

Spanish prosecutors have requested a restraining order to keep former football chief Luis Rubiales (46) away from national team player Jenni Hermoso (33) as part of an investigation into sexual assault.

The alleged incident, in which Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips at the medal ceremony following Spain’s women’s team’s World Cup victory in Sydney, Australia, on August 20th, has sparked widespread outrage over sexism in Spanish sports and society, leading to protests reminiscent of the “Me Too” movement.

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Rubiales claims the kiss was consensual, while Hermoso contends that it was forced upon her.

If granted, the restraining order would prohibit Rubiales from contacting Hermoso or approaching within 500 metres of her.

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Rubiales, dressed in a black suit over a white shirt, left the High Court in Madrid accompanied by his lawyer, Olga Tubau, after a closed-door investigative hearing lasting approximately an hour.

He did not communicate with the media waiting outside.

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Prosecutors request restraining order against Rubiales to keep him away from Hermoso 4

During his testimony, Rubiales refuted the allegations, as per a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

After weeks of resisting calls from players, politicians, and women’s advocacy groups to step down as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Rubiales finally resigned on September 10th.

However, he remains unapologetic, asserting that his actions were consensual in a moment of celebration and joy.

Local media reported that women’s players, including the World Cup-winning squad, intended to continue their boycott of the national team until further changes were made within the federation.

This decision came after Hermoso informed prosecutors that Rubiales had kissed her without her consent and had physically held her head during the televised moment.

State prosecutor Marta Durantez Gil subsequently filed a legal complaint, including a possible charge of coercion, as Hermoso claimed she and her family were pressured by Rubiales and his associates to state that she had approved of the incident.


CONSENT CRUCIAL

Judge Francisco de Jorge is heading the inquiry, which is a necessary step preceding any formal charges under Spanish law.

He will determine whether the case should proceed to trial, and if it does, the potential consequences for Rubiales could include a prison sentence ranging from one to four years.

He emphasised the importance of establishing malice or intentionality to classify a sexual action as assault.

De Jorge has instructed various media outlets, including state broadcaster TVE, to provide him with footage of the incident and subsequent videos.

One of these videos shows the players celebrating on a bus with Rubiales, making what seemed to be light-hearted references to the kiss. The investigation is expected to span several months.

This legal case will also serve as a public examination of the flagship “Solo sĂ­ es sĂ­” (Only yes is yes) law of the leftist coalition government, which places consent at the core of sexual relationships.

Numerous players, sports organisations, and politicians have expressed their support for Hermoso through a campaign united under the hashtag #SeAcabó (It’s Over) on social media.

Over 80 of Spain’s leading female players, including the 23 world champions, have declined to participate in the national team until there are changes in the management and approach of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Despite Rubiales’ resignation and the appointment of assistant coach Montse Tome to replace team coach Jorge Vilda, the players informed the RFEF on Friday that they would maintain their boycott.

Spain’s male-dominated football establishment faced another setback on Thursday when police arrested three youth players from Real Madrid on suspicion of distributing a sexually explicit video involving a minor. The mother of a 16-year-old in the Canary Islands filed a complaint, alleging that the video had been recorded without her consent, according to police reports.

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