Luis Rubiales, who resigned as Spain’s football boss five days ago, is due in court on Friday on s**ual assault accusations stemming from forcibly kissing women’s World Cup star Jenni Hermoso.
The 46-year-old has been summoned to the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid at midday (1000 GMT), where he will appear before Judge Francisco de Jorge, who is in charge of the investigation.
Rubiales will be questioned as a defendant in relation to charges of “s**ual assault” at the hearing, which will be closed to the public, according to a court statement issued earlier this week.
Hermoso will also be called to testify at a later date.
The case comes barely four weeks after Rubiales sparked outrage when he forcibly kissed the midfielder in front of the world’s media after Spain defeated England in the final on August 20.
Rubiales, who was head of Spain’s RFEF football federation at the time, has repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual.
Hermoso has said it was not and that it left her feeling like the “victim of an assault”.
De Jorge revealed on Monday that the public prosecutors’ office had filed a complaint against Rubiales the previous week, claiming suspected “offenses of s**ual assault” and “coercion.”
A non-consensual kiss can be termed s**ual assault, a category that includes all sorts of sexual violence, under a recent amendment of the Spanish penal code.
According to public prosecutors’ sources, if proven guilty, Rubiales might face a fine up to four years in prison.
Prosecutors said in their complaint that they added coercion because Hermoso stated that “she and those close to her had suffered constant ongoing pressure by Luis Rubiales and his professional entourage to justify and condone” his acts.
The global furore over the incident all but eclipsed the victory celebrations for Spain’s World Cup champions.
‘100% Non S**ual’
After three weeks of refusing to resign over the kiss, Rubiales, who was suspended by FIFA on August 26, stood down late on Sunday but continued to insist the kiss was consensual in a TV interview with Britain’s Piers Morgan.
“What we had is a spontaneous act, a mutual act, an act that both consented to, which was driven by the emotion of the moment,” he said, describing the kiss as “100 percent non-sexual”.
The hearing comes as new coach Montse Tome, the team’s first female coach, prepares to name her squad for UEFA Women’s Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland on September 22 and 26.
Her first task will be to persuade the 23 world champions to put on the red jersey again, after they and dozens of others stated that they would not play for the national team until significant changes are made at the top of the federation.
The players have not yet stated their intentions in the aftermath of Rubiales’ resignation, though the situation has changed after the RFEF fired their controversial coach Jorge Vilda, replaced him with Tome, and promised additional internal improvements.
“We have had discussions.. I don’t think there will be any problem,” Rafael del Amo, head of the RFEF’s women’s football committee told Cope radio on Tuesday.
“I think things will move forward.”