Former president of the Spanish soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, has been issued a restraining order by Spain’s National Court, prohibiting him from contacting player Jenni Hermoso, whom he kissed on the lips during the Women’s World Cup last month. Rubiales appeared before Judge Francisco de Jorge and denied any wrongdoing during the awards ceremony. The judge has ordered Rubiales to stay at least 200 meters away from Hermoso, rejecting the state prosecutors’ request for a 500-meter ban. The judge also denied the request to oblige Rubiales to check in with a court every 15 days and freeze his assets.
Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final on August 20 in Sydney, Australia. While Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual, Hermoso has repeatedly denied this. Last week, Spanish state prosecutors formally accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales denied both accusations during an hour-long closed-door hearing with the judge.
Rubiales resigned from his position as president of the soccer federation on Sunday, following pressure from government and soccer authorities. He had already been provisionally suspended by FIFA. Judge Francisco de Jorge is conducting a preliminary investigation into the accusations against Rubiales and will determine whether the case should proceed to trial.
Under a sexual consent law passed in Spain last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault. Hermoso had already given testimony to state prosecutors before leaving Spain to join her Mexican club, Pachuca. In a statement posted on social media, Hermoso described the kiss as an “impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part.”