After a kiss at the Women's World Cup, Hermoso speaks in a case of sexual assault.
After a kiss at the Women’s World Cup, Hermoso speaks in a case of sexual assault.

It’s morning in Madrid. The football president kissed a Spanish player on the lips at the Women’s World Cup final. On Tuesday, the player went to court to witness in the sexual assault case against the former official.

Jenni Hermoso was at the Madrid court to give her version of Luis Rubiales’ kiss after Spain beat England in the August final in Sydney.

“Everything went well,” Hermoso told the press after the event. “The legal process will go on as planned, and I appreciate the help many of you gave me.”

The event made people all over the world of football very angry and led to one of the worst crises in the history of the sport in Spain. The players who won the World Cup also stopped playing for the national team, and Rubiales eventually quit, even though he denied doing anything wrong and said the kiss was mutual.

Hermoso was going to say again in court that she didn’t want the kiss and that Rubiales and his staff tried to get her and her family to play down the incident that hurt Spain’s chances of winning its first Women’s World Cup.

The testimony took place behind closed doors, and the court did not give any information about what she said. The Spanish news said that Hermoso asked the judge to keep her court date as secret as possible. She showed up in a grey coat and waved to reporters as she and her lawyers walked into the court through one of the main doors.

Spanish state officials said Rubiales sexually assaulted Hermoso and her family members and tried to get them to downplay the kiss in public.

Before making a decision about whether to start a trial, the judge is also hearing from other World Cup-winning players, coaches, and federation leaders.

People who were being looked into for supposedly trying to put pressure on Hermoso included Jorge Vilda, who used to coach the Spain women’s national team, and other former federation officials.

Before the judge gave him a restraining order not to contact Hermoso, Rubiales told the court that he had done nothing wrong.

The 33-year-old Hermoso, who scored the most goals for Spain’s women’s team, said last year that she got threats because of the kiss, but she didn’t say more.

Because she spoke out against the kiss and helped start a “Me Too” movement in Spain, Hermoso became somewhat famous there. As one of the New Year’s Eve hosts on state television on Saturday, she called for a more fair 2024. This week, Hermoso said that she will play for the Mexican club Tigres after having played for Pachuca.

The boycott of the national team stopped last year after government officials stepped in and promised the players that things would change within the federation.

A law about sexual consent was passed last year, and if Rubiales is found guilty, he could get a fine or go to jail for one to four years. This is what the prosecutors’ office in Madrid said. The new rule got rid of the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” which means that any sexual act done without permission is now legal.

There will be no more Rubiales for three years, until the end of the 2026 men’s World Cup. Before the next women’s event in 2027, his ban will end.

On September 10, he quit as president of the federation and as a vice president of UEFA because politicians and players in Spain were putting more and more pressure on him. UEFA thanked Rubiales for his work the next day.

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