Former Spain women’s coach denies pressuring Hermoso to downplay kiss incident

Madrid, Oct 10 (EFE).- Former Spain women’s national soccer team coach Jorge Vilda and Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) marketing director Rubén Rivera on Tuesday denied having pressured forward Jenni Hermoso to downplay the kiss that former RFEF president Luis Rubiales gave her after the World Cup final in Australia.

After a video of Rubiales kissing Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony following Spain’s victory over England went viral online causing international outrage, the RFEF released a statement on behalf of the striker saying the kiss was consensual and an act of “mutual” celebration.

But Hermoso insisted the kiss was not consensual and on Monday confirmed before a judge that the incident had left her feeling “disrespected” and the victim of an aggression.

Vilda and Riviera testified before the National Court judge Francisco de Jorge as suspects in the sexual assault and coercion case against the former federation president.

The judge summoned them to clarify their roles in the alleged pressure Hermoso and her family denounced from Rubiales’ close circle.

Rubiales testified in court on Sept. 15 that Vilda had spoken to Hermoso’s brother during the team’s return flight from Australia to Spain.

Rivera accompanied the players during a trip to Ibiza organized to celebrate their World Cup victory, when Hermoso allegedly continued to be put under pressure from Rubiales’ circle.

Vilda and Rivera, along with and the men’s national team director Albert Luque, were initially summoned to testify as witnesses.

But the judge changed their procedural status to that of “investigated” after hearing testimony from Jenni Hermoso’s brother and a friend, who both confirmed that Hermoso was pressured to downplay the kiss.

On Oct. 2, three of Hermoso’s teammates corroborated that Rubiales and his circle had pressured Hermoso after the World Cup final.

Luque will be summoned by the judge on Oct. 16.

Several witnesses, including Spain men’s team coach Luis de la Fuente and former RFEF director of communication Pablo García-Cuervo, will testify in November.


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