Former Spanish FA president, Luis Rubiales has insisted that Jenni Hermoso was lying about not giving consent to the kiss as he continues to plead his innocence in Spain’s National Court over the ‘kiss-gate’ scandal.
Rubiales eventually stepped down as Spanish FA (RFEF) president on September 10, having faced calls to do so ever since the final of the Women’s World Cup on August 20.
After Olga Carmona’s strike against England handed La Roja their first-ever title, Hermoso was kissed on the lips by Rubiales as he presented the players with their medals.
In the immediate aftermath, Hermoso claimed that it was non-consensual, while Rubiales argued it was.
According to Mail Online, the issue of consent was naturally a major line of questioning from the court, and after the judge persisted in asking whether there was indeed consent for the kiss, Rubiales insisted that Hermoso was lying.
‘She knows perfectly well that she is being untrue,’ he claimed, as per outlet El ESPAÑOL, before adding that he had a conversation with Hermoso about the potential backlash after the fact.
‘There is a moment when I ran into her, because I was in the front row and she went to the bathroom. Fifteen seconds, it wouldn’t be more. “Hey, Jenni, why don’t we both go out? Let’s end this, because this is going to hurt me a lot.”
“No, look, President Rubi, I’ll pass, I want to enjoy the World Cup, I’m not going to make any more statements. If I have already said it, he who wants to understand it should understand it, and he who does not want to understand it should not understand it.”
“Yes, yes, you have explained it and it has been clear, but we are asking you, on the advice of those who know, that we go out together.” (She replies:) “I’m not going to do it”. That’s it.’
Rubiales added that he had in fact asked for Hermoso’s consent before kissing her after the World Cup final, a request to which the player agreed.
‘At the medal ceremony, I was hugging the players, the coach, when she passed by. She comes to me to give me a hug. We hug, she lifts me up and I make a gesture so as not to fall, all this with a conversation in which I remind her – because she had missed a penalty – to cheer up a little, that without her we couldn’t have won the World Cup.
‘She tells me I’m a crack (a slang term of endearment in Spanish), thank you very much. And then I ask her, can I give you a little kiss, a little peck? And she tells me that it’s okay.
Rubiales was then asked by the prosecutor: ‘If the kiss was consensual, why did you respond to it by holding her head with your hands?’
He then responded: ‘Well, out of joy. She grabs me wherever she can, I grab her too and that’s it. Two or three minutes later they all grabbed me and pulled me up, swinging me.
‘And at that moment I’m not going to say that they shouldn’t touch me, excuse me, my butt, my knees or my shoulder. We have won a World Cup and the tremendous euphoria and joy there is is indescribable.
‘It happened that way because when you win the lottery or a war ends, the war in Ukraine ends or you win a World Cup, well, that effusiveness, that spontaneity…’
Hermoso’s lawyer proceeded to ask whether he thought he had shown her respect, which drew the response: ‘If I asked her before, how can I not respect her? And she left laughing and slapping me twice on the side.’
‘How am I going to ask for forgiveness if we were both super happy? And we hugged and then she came again and she kept me with others, and we were delighted with her life, if she didn’t give it any importance.’
Rubiales also argued that initially the kiss had been received as ‘a meme’ but the vast majority of people, claiming that rather than take someone ‘forcibly to an office’ the fact that the kiss was in front of million shows that it is ‘natural’ for two people that have spent so much time together.
According to Spanish outlet El Confidencial, Rubiales pressured an employee in the RFEF’s communications department to testify that Hermoso gave her consent to the kiss.
Rubiales has also been banned from contacting Hermoso or being within 200 metres of her. General secretary Andreu Camps was also sacked from his role in the aftermath of the events at the World Cup final.