Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso testifies in court regarding the incident of Rubiales kissing

Hermoso testifies as judge investigates ex-president of Spanish football federation over kiss after World Cup victory

Jenni Hermoso, the Spanish footballer, has provided evidence to a judge who is investigating the kiss she received from Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Federation, following Spain’s triumph in the World Cup final in August last year.

Rubiales’ decision to hold Hermoso’s head and kiss her on the lips sparked an uproar and ignited a national and international debate on sexism. It has also prompted an investigation into Rubiales for alleged sexual assault and coercion by the audiencia nacional, Spain’s highest criminal court.

Rubiales, who resigned as the head of Spain’s football federation in September last year, maintains that the kiss he planted on Hermoso’s lips was consensual and that he had obtained her permission. However, Hermoso has refuted giving consent and claimed that the incident made her feel “vulnerable and like a victim of aggression”. The 33-year-old forward has filed a criminal complaint against Rubiales, and state prosecutors have charged him with sexual assault and coercion for allegedly pressuring her to defend him after his actions sparked a global controversy.

Hermoso arrived at the court in Madrid just before 10 am on Tuesday to provide her testimony to Judge Francisco de Jorge. Following the closed-door hearing, she briefly spoke to the media, wishing them a happy new year and stating, “It has gone well. It is now in the hands of justice.”

The footballer, who has recently joined Mexican team Tigres, has dismissed any suggestion that the kiss was consensual, deeming Rubiales’ claim that she gave him permission to be “absolutely untrue”. Hermoso stated that she had chosen to speak out about the incident because “no individual, regardless of their profession, sport, or social environment, should be subjected to this type of non-consensual behavior”.

She further expressed, “I felt vulnerable and like a victim of an impulsive, sexist act that had no place and occurred without my consent. Simply put, I was not treated with respect.”

Hermoso also revealed that the incident and its aftermath had taken a significant toll on her. In an interview with GQSpain last year, she said, “These weeks have been very tough. I have had to face the consequences of an act that I did not provoke, choose, or plan. I have received threats, and that is something you can never get used to.”

Rubiales, who could potentially face a fine or up to four years in prison if found guilty of sexual assault, has denied assaulting or coercing Hermoso. He has vowed to clear his name, stating, “I believe in the truth, and I will do everything within my power to ensure it prevails,” when he stepped down as the head of the federation four months ago.

The 46-year-old former player expressed that although his family and close associates had endured “the consequences of excessive persecution” and “numerous lies,” he believed that the public knew the truth.

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