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Spanish soccer star Jenni Hermoso accuses federation president of sexual assault for World Cup kiss

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Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso has filed a formal accusation of sexual assault against Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish soccer federation, for kissing her on the lips without her consent after the Women’s World Cup final in August.

Hermoso, a 33-year-old forward who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, made the accusation on Tuesday, according to the prosecutors’ office. Prosecutors had said last week that they were going to meet with Hermoso to give her the opportunity to present an accusation against Rubiales, who has been suspended by FIFA for his behavior.

Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony after Spain beat England 1-0 to win the title on Aug. 20 in Sydney. Rubiales has insisted that the kiss was consensual, which Hermoso has denied. She also said that she and her family were pressured by the federation to show her support for Rubiales in the immediate aftermath of the scandal caused by the kiss that tarnished her team’s victory.

Spain’s government, players’ unions, players and many citizens have come out in support of Hermoso. Rubiales, meanwhile, has become a soccer outcast even while he refuses to resign.

Rubiales was suspended from his post by FIFA on Aug. 27, a day after he refused to step down when he delivered a defiant speech to the general assembly of his federation in which he claimed he was victim of a “witch hunt” by “false feminists.”

The kiss has had widespread impact, quickly turning Spain’s national celebration of a first-time title into serious conversation about the country’s deeply-rooted patriarchal norms.

Jorge Vilda, the coach who led Spain to the sport’s most prized trophy, had initially supported Rubiales before eventually voicing criticism of the federation boss. The acting federation chief announced Tuesday that Vilda had been fired. He was replaced by Montse Tomé, the women’s national team’s first female coach.

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