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Spanish FA threaten legal action against Jenni Hermoso over Luis Rubiales kiss scandal

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The Spanish football association (RFEF) has threatened to take legal action against Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup winner dismissed the version of events presented by the federation’s president, Luis Rubiales, as “lies”.

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Rubiales sparked widespread controversy by kissing Hermoso during the medal ceremony to honour Spain’s victory over England in the 2023 Women’s World Cup final on 20 August.

Hermoso immediately stated after the incident that she “didn’t like it”. RFEF later put out a statement on behalf of the 33-year-old forward in an attempt to quell the mounting backlash but Hermoso subsequently labelled Rubiales’ actions as “unacceptable” and called for sanctions against the president.

In an extraordinary general assembly on Friday, 25 August, for which the press had been briefed of his imminent resignation, Rubiales declared – five times – “I will not resign”.

Applauded by a crowd that included Jorge Vilda and Luis de la Fuente – the head coaches of the women’s and men’s respective Spanish national teams – Rubiales outlined his view of what occurred on the pitch at Stadium Australia.

“I want to explain this peck, not a kiss, a peck,” Rubiales said. “The feeling behind that kiss was the same with which I would give my daughter a kiss. There was no dominance. It was spontaneous, mutual and consensual. It was consensual.”

Rubiales continued: “The moment Jenni appeared, she picked me up from the ground and when she put me down, we hugged and I told her, ‘Forget about the penalty, you have been fantastic at the World Cup’. She told me, ‘You are a star’, and I said, ‘A little peck?’ and it happened.”

Luis Rubiales

Luis Rubiales’ celebrations during the World Cup final have come under intense scrutiny / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

On the same Friday, Hermoso emphatically refuted Rubiales’ account with a statement published on social media via the FUTPRO union. “While it is true that I do not want to interfere with the multiple ongoing legal processes,” Hermoso explained, “I feel obliged to report that Mr Luis Rubiales’ words explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated.

“I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation to which Mr Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual. I want to reiterate as I did before that I did not like this incident.”

FIFA have launched a disciplinary investigation into Rubiales but RFEF are unwavering in their support for the federation’s president. Late on Friday, the governing body of Spanish football released a statement which read: “The RFEF wishes to inform public opinion that the competent bodies of the RFEF that are processing the complaints filed with the Federation have tried to contact Ms Jennifer Hermoso, having been unsuccessful at all times.

“The RFEF announces the presentation of as many legal actions as may correspond in defence of the honorability of the President of the RFEF who has exposed in a clear and simple way how the events that are the cause of conflict and ridicule on the part of broad sectors of the society occurred.”

The federation’s release added: “In a rule of law, as the president has defended, opinions are counteracted with facts and evidence, and lies are rebutted in court. The president of the RFEF has wanted to take this issue with the utmost respect for the players and the institutions and only when an unassumable red line has been crossed has he come out publicly to give his version of the facts.

FBL-WC-2023-WOMEN-MATCH64-ESP-ENG-PODIUM

Luis Rubiales hoisted Athenea del Castillo onto his shoulder after the World Cup final / DAVID GRAY/GettyImages

“The President’s version of events is verified in the internal files that have been opened, and to date Ms Jennifer Hermoso has not responded to any of the requests made.”

RFEF’s statement is accompanied by four images that supposedly support Rubiales’ version of events – specifically his assertion that Hermoso “picked me up from the ground”.

This sequence of images – which does not address the conversation in regards to consent that Hermoso disputes ever took place – has given RFEF enough confidence to declare: “The evidence is conclusive. Mr President has not lied.

“The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the FUTPRO Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions.”

READ MORE POST-TOURNAMENT REACTION TO THE 2023 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP

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