Prosecutor seeks 2-1/2-year jail term for Spain’s ex-soccer chief Rubiales over kiss

By Thomson Reuters Mar 27, 2024 | 11:13 AM

MADRID (Reuters) – A prosecutor at Spain’s High Court is seeking a prison sentence of 2-1/2 years for former soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales over his unsolicited kiss on player Jenni Hermoso, a court document seen by Reuters on Wednesday showed.

Prosecutor Marta Durantez charged Rubiales with one count of sexual assault and one of coercion for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the kiss, offences carrying jail terms of one year and one-and-a-half years, respectively.

Rubiales, 46, unleashed a furore when he grabbed Hermoso and kissed her on the lips on Aug. 20 of last year during the awards ceremony after Spain’s victory in the women’s World Cup in Sydney.

Hermoso and her teammates said the kiss was unwanted and demeaning, but Rubiales argued it was consensual and denied any wrongdoing.

The prosecutor also accused the former coach of the women’s national team, Jorge Vilda, the team’s current sporting director, Albert Luque, and the federation’s head of marketing, Ruben Rivera, of coercing Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual.

All three have denied wrongdoing when they appeared before the court.

Durantez seeks to have Rubiales pay 50,000 euros ($54,080) in damages to Hermoso, and another 50,000 euros jointly paid by Rubiales, Vilda, Luque and Rivera.

If the court were to convict Rubiales and impose the sentencing sought by the prosecutor he would not necessarily have to go to prison. Spain’s criminal code allows judges to “exceptionally” suspend the execution of the sentence if – as in this case – none of the sentences imposed individually exceeds two years.

($1 = 0.9246 euros)

(Reporting by David Latona; Editing by Alex Richardson)