Rubiales says trial for kiss is ‘because I am a man’

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Jenni Hermoso gesticulates to Luis Rubiales after the World Cup final

Former Spanish football federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales has questioned if he is facing trial for sexual assault “because he’s a man”.

Rubiales, 46, is due to go on trial for kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the mouth after the final of last summer’s World Cup.

Hermoso and her team-mates said the kiss was demeaning and not consensual, and Rubiales ultimately resigned.

In a Spanish TV interviewexternal-link Rubiales denied any wrongdoing with the kiss.

Rubiales told La Sexta: “You cannot question Jennifer Hermoso, but you can question me – because I am a man? For me there is no crime against Jennifer Hermoso.

“Whoever sees the images… I can’t understand that anyone would consider it a sexual assault.

“Those who are victims of everything are my family and my friends.”

Spanish prosecutors want the ex-head of the country’s football federation to be jailed for two and a half years, with Rubiales facing a charge of coercion in addition to the one for sexual assault.

Rubiales was alleged to have coerced Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual in the aftermath of the incident – something he denied in the TV interview.

Former La Liga defender Rubiales said he “should have been colder and more institutional” and “not have been so happy” following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in the World Cup final in Sydney, Australia in August 2023.

Separately, Rubiales was arrested on Wednesday as part of an unconnected corruption investigation after he arrived in Madrid from the Dominican Republic.

He is suspected of receiving illegal commissions when negotiating a lucrative deal to stage the Spanish Super Cup competition in Saudi Arabia.

Rubiales said he has “declared everything” having “never taken a bribe in my life” and called the allegations “a lie”.

He said that his bank accounts had been blocked and now he “can’t even pay” for a drink.

“If there is an investigation, there must be a presumption of innocence,” Rubiales added.

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