Wed. Jun 19th, 2024


Spain’s Women’s World Cup winning ex-manager Jorge Vilda is to be investigated as part of the Luis Rubiales “kissgate” probe.

A judge has expanded the scope of the sexual assault investigation into the kiss by Rubiales on Spain star Jenni Hermoso in the wake of their World Cup victory in August.

Alongside the incident itself, the judge is investigating alleged efforts by Rubiales, the former head of Spain’s football association (RFEF), to pressure Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual.

Vilda, who was sacked as manager 10 days after the World Cup win, has now been brought into the expanded investigation, according to a statement by Spain’s High Court.

The statement did not elaborate on the reason, though Spanish media have reported that Vilda allegedly pressured Hermoso to put out a statement exonerating Rubiales.

Vilda has denied those reports.

Jennifer Hermoso  is kissed by president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales during the FIFA Womens World Cup 2023 Final football match
Hermoso is kissed by Rubiales at the Women’s World Cup presentation in August

Spain went into the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand following a revolt by several senior players against their treatment by Vilda.

Despite the row, Spain triumphed at the tournament in August, beating England 1-0 in the final in Sydney.

But their victory was almost immediately overshadowed by Rubiales grabbing and kissing Hermoso on the lips during the presentation ceremony.

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Rubiales claimed the kiss was “mutual and with the consent” of Hermoso and claimed he was the victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists”.

Hermoso initially responded in an Instagram video during celebrations after the incident, and said: “I did not like it, but what could I do?”

The RFEF also issued a statement quoting Hermoso as saying the kiss was a “mutual, totally spontaneous gesture”.

Former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales arrives at the high court in Madrid, Spain - September 15, 2023 REUTERS/Susana Vera
Former RFEF president Luis Rubiales

However, in a later statement released by the players’ union, FUTPRO, Hermoso said she was “vulnerable” and “the victim of an aggression”.

After initially remaining defiant and refusing to quit, Rubiales was forced to resign earlier this month.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order, after Hermoso filed a complaint for alleged sexual assault and coercion.

Judge Francisco de Jorge is investigating the complaint.

Initially, only Rubiales was under formal investigation, while other federation officials and players were called as witnesses.

However, Judge de Jorge has now put Vilda under investigation, while he has also changed the status of Albert Luque, the director of the men’s squad, and Ruben Rivera, the federation’s marketing chief, to “investigated”.

Earlier this month, Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s squad agreed to end their boycott of the national team after the RFEF said it would make “immediate and profound changes” to its structure.

Spain's Ivana Andres gives a speech as prime minister Pedro Sanchez and players applaud during the ceremony
Spain’s women’s World Cup-winning side

Despite the boycott, the players were still summoned to play for the national team by new coach Montse Tome when the delayed squad for Spain’s upcoming Women’s Nations League games was announced.

The team agreed to end their boycott after a meeting lasting more than seven hours between the players, officials from the RFEF and Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD), as well as members of the players’ union FUTPRO.

They beat Switzerland 5-0 in the UEFA Women’s Nation League on Tuesday night.


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