Spain World Cup players to testify in Rubiales case
MADRID, Spain, (AFP) – Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas and two other Spain players will testify before a judge over the Women’s World Cup kiss scandal involving Luis Rubiales, a judicial source said Monday.
Putellas, defender Irene Paredes and goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez are all slated to testify on October 2 in the case against Rubiales who is facing sexual assault charges after kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain beat England in the final on August 20.
Rubiales was head of Spain’s RFEF football federation at the time but has since resigned. He made his first appearance in court on September 15.
Putellas, one of four players who captain the national squad, was quick to publicly defend Hermoso in the scandal that erupted over the forcible kiss, denouncing Rubiales’ refusal to resign as “unacceptable”.
Barcelona defender Paredes, also a national squad captain, and Rodriguez, who was on the bench for the final, will also testify at next week’s session.
On Monday, investigating judge Francisco de Jorge heard testimony from Hermoso’s brother and one of her friends, the source said.
Both confirmed Hermoso’s statements that she did not consent to the kiss and had been under pressure to justify Rubiales’ actions.
The disgraced former football boss is also facing charges of coercion after 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 actions.
Several experts also testified on Monday, with the judge due to hear testimony from RFEF members on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear whether Hermoso — who has since returned to Mexico where she currently plays for Pachuca FC — would be called to testify, and if so, when it would happen.
Following the initial hearing, the judge slapped Rubiales with a restraining order, banning him from being within 200 metres of Hermoso.
Rubiales’ actions in front of the world’s cameras sparked a huge backlash, but he refused to resign, prompting FIFA to suspend him and prosecutors to file suit against him before he finally threw in the towel and resigned on September 11, three weeks after the incident.
But the kiss provoked a rebellion within women’s football with scores of players staging a strike to demand far-reaching changes within the RFEF.
Ahead of their first Nations League match on Friday, the World Cup squad staged a joint protest with their Swedish opponents holding up a giant banner in Spanish saying “It’s over” in reference to sexism within football.
Spain won the Gothenburg clash 3-2.