SPANISH women’s football star Jenni Hermoso ‘did not feel respected as a person’ after she received a ‘non-consensual kiss’ from the country’s ex-football federation chief Luis Rubiales, in the wake of the national team’s World Cup victory against England on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.
That’s according to the testimony she gave to the High Court public prosecutor, leaked video of which has been broadcast by Spanish TV network Telecinco in the program Codigo 10.
Asked whether she had consented to the kiss and whether she felt violated at the time, she said: “I clearly felt like I had not been respected. At that moment I was not respected at any time, neither as a player nor as a person, I was living an experience that was historic.”
Rubiales, 46, is facing criminal charges of sexual assault and coercion for the allegedly unsolicited kiss, which he planted on Hermoso’s lips during the medal ceremony while holding each side of her head with his hands.
His behaviour sparked immediate controversy, which weeks later culminated with him finally quitting from his role at both the Spanish Football Federation and European authority Uefa.
In her testimony, Hermoso explains to High Court prosecutor Marta Durantez the words that she and Rubiales exchanged about the game and the result before providing details of the kiss.
“The next thing that happened was his hands on my head and I didn’t hear anything else,” she said. “I saw myself with the kiss on my mouth and then I went straight to the platform with my colleagues.
“I didn’t expect it,” she added.
Hermoso also drew attention to the achievements of her team, calling Spain’s first World Cup win a ‘historical event’ that required ‘huge efforts to achieve’.
“I could never have expected that something like this would happen in the end,” she told the prosecutor. “I don’t think anyone could expect that someone trustworthy would use that moment to do something like that, no matter how spontaneous it was.”
Hermoso also gave details of the alleged pressure that both she and her close circle received after the controversy blew up to publicly back Rubiales.
Back in September, the High Court imposed a restraining order on Rubiales in order to keep him away from Hermoso. At the court, he denied the charges of assault and coercion.
If found guilty of sexual assault, he could face a fine or a prison sentence of up to four years.