Football bosses allegedly harassed Jenni Hermoso after World Cup kiss

Spain football star Jenni Hermoso and her family were allegedly harassed by Spanish football bosses who flew to see her in Ibiza after the infamous World Cup kiss, court documents claim.

Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales made headlines when he kissed Hermoso during the medal ceremony following Spain’s triumph in the Sydney final in August.

Rubiales said the act was “a consensual peck” but the star striker has insisted it was not, filing a lawsuit against him in September.

In March, it was reported Prosecutor Marta Durantez charged Rubiales with one count of sexual assault and one count of coercion for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the kiss. Rubiales has denied any wrongdoing.

Ms Durantez has also accused Jorge Vilda, the former coach of the women’s national team, Albert Luque, the current sporting director of the Spanish federation (RFEF), and Ruben Rivera, the federation’s marketing chief, of coercing Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual. All three have also denied any wrongdoing.

According to the ABC, court documents filed by prosecutors in Madrid allege Rivera and Luque travelled to Ibiza to get Hermoso to record a video statement endorsing Rubiales.

At the time, Hermoso had flown to the Balearic Islands to enjoy a team holiday days after their World Cup victory.

The documents allege Hermoso was subjected to “constant and repeated acts of pressure” to ‘publicly justify’ the kiss from Rubiales, which allegedly began after the medal presentation ceremony in Sydney.

Rubiales had allegedly asked for Hermoso to leave the change rooms at Stadium Australia to speak with him, according to the documents.

It’s also alleged Hermoso was ordered to get off the team bus while travelling to Sydney airport to sign a press release drafted by the RFEF communications team and later sent out to the media.

In the statement, Hermoso appeared to downplay the incident.

“It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup,” the statement read.

“The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour towards us has been excellent and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude”.

While on the flight from Australia to Spain, she was allegedly approached by Rubiales a number of times in an attempt to persuade her to make a joint public statement about the kiss, which she refused to do.

The prosecution alleges the then-women’s team coach Vilda, later approached Hermoso’s family on the flight and told her brother she would face negative consequences “both personally and in her professional career as a footballer” if she didn’t record a video statement during their stopover in Doha.

“Jennifer suffered a situation of harassment that prevented her from living her life in peace, tranquillity and freedom,” Ms Durantez Gil said in the documents, according to the ABC.

While in Ibiza, Luque also allegedly sent several WhatsApp messages to Hermoso’s friend accusing her of “being a bad person wishing her to be very lonely in life and announcing that he would be happy if that happened”, according to the documents.

The documents claim the harassment didn’t end until Rubiales was provisionally suspended by FIFA on August 26.

16 days later, he formally resigned from his role as RFEF president.

If Rubiales is found guilty, prosecutors requested the 46-year-old face a year behind bars for the kiss, and 18 months jail for the charge of coercion.

Vilda, Luque and Rivera also face up to 18 months in prison.

Rubiales was arrested last week in connection with a separate alleged corruption scandal at the RFEF football federation when he was president.

He was detained at Madrid’s Barajas airport shortly after flying in from the Dominican Republic but released shortly afterwards, a Guardia Civil police spokesman said.

Rubiales has denied any wrongdoing.

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