Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso has filed a sexual assault complaint after she was kissed by the head of Spain’s football federation, Luis Rubiales.
The prosecutor’s office said Hermoso made the accusation on Tuesday. Prosecutors had said last week that they were going to meet with Hermoso to give her the opportunity to present an accusation against Rubiales.
Rubiales insists that the kiss, as Hermoso and her teammates celebrated their World Cup victory over the Lionesses on 20 August, was consensual – but the player has previously described it as unwanted and uncomfortable.
The dispute, and Rubiales’ refusal to resign, has sparked a major crisis in Spanish football, after a boycott by female players and a mass resignation of coaches.
Rubiales has already been temporarily suspended by international footballing body Fifa, after he claimed in a defiant speech that he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by “false feminists.”
With the complaint, Rubiales could now face criminal charges in addition to the ongoing probe by Spain’s top sport court for “serious misconduct”.
Jorge Vilda, the coach of the Spanish women’s team, was sacked by the interim leadership at the Spanish football federation RFRF on Tuesday, in a reversal of a decision by Rubiales to give him a lucrative contract extension.
Vilda – who had appeared to applaud Rubiales last month as he gave a defiant speech decrying the accusations, complained on Wednesday that his ouster was “unfair” after delivering a World Cup victory – despite long-brewing tensions within the team over his leadership style.
“In sporting terms, I am going to accept all the criticisms, but on a personal level I think it has been unfair,” he told Cadena SER.
“It has been a special year. Nothing has ever been said directly but indirectly things have been said that do not suit me. Things have been said that are not true.”