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Jenni Hermoso formally accuses federation president Luis Rubiales of sexual assault over unwanted kiss

The incident happened shortly after Spain captured the Women's World Cup with a 1-0 victory over England on Aug. 20.
Jennifer Hermoso walks through the tunnel during the World Cup final match between Spain and England in Sydney on Aug. 20, 2023.
Jennifer Hermoso walks through the tunnel during the Women's World Cup final match between Spain and England in Sydney on Aug. 20.Maddie Meyer / FIFA via Getty Images file

Spanish soccer star Jenni Hermoso formally accused the chief of her country's embattled federation, Luis Rubiales, of sexual assault for kissing her on the lips after Spain won the Women’s World Cup, authorities said Wednesday.

Spanish prosecutors announced last week that they had opened an investigation of Rubiales and asked Hermoso to contact the office within 15 days to report herself as a possible victim of sexual aggression, officials said.

She made the accusation Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office said, according to The Associated Press and Reuters.

Rubiales, the Spanish soccer federation president who has been suspended by FIFA, has been widely criticized for the kiss, which happened after Spain's history-making 1-0 win over England in the final.

He put his hand on both sides of Hermoso's head and pulled her in for a kiss on the mouth during the medal ceremony Aug. 20 in Australia.

Rubiales has said the celebratory kiss was consensual, which Hermoso has denied.

The kiss has had widespread impact, quickly turning Spain's national celebration of a first-time title into serious conversation about the country's deeply rooted patriarchal norms.

Jorge Vilda, the coach who led Spain to the sport's most prized trophy, had initially supported Rubiales before he eventually voiced criticism.

The acting federation chief announced Tuesday that Vilda had been terminated. He was replaced by Montse Tomé, the women's national team's first female coach.