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Luis Rubiales: Prosecutors seek 2.5-year jail term over World Cup kiss

Former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales
Prosecutors are seeking a 2.5-year prison term for Luis Rubiales

Spanish prosecutors want the ex-head of the country's football federation to be jailed for two-and-a-half years, after he kissed a female footballer against her will at Spain's World Cup victory.

Luis Rubiales is facing charges of sexual assault and coercion after he grabbed Jenni Hermoso and kissed her on the mouth last August.

Ms Hermoso and her teammates said the kiss was unwanted and demeaning.

Mr Rubiales was forced to resign, but has denied any wrongdoing.

According to a court document seen by Reuters, prosecutor Marta Durantez charged Mr Rubiales with one count of sexual assault and one of coercion for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the kiss. The charges carry prison terms of one year and 18 months respectively.

Ms Durantez also accused the former coach of the women's national team, Jorge Vilda, the team's current sporting director, Albert Luque, and the federation's head of marketing, Ruben Rivera, of coercing Ms Hermoso into saying the kiss was consensual.

The indictment said they harassed her through "constant and repeated acts of pressure", including through her friends and family.

All three denied wrongdoing when they appeared before the court. Each could face up to 18 months in jail if convicted.

Ms Durantez also wants the four men to pay damages totalling €100,000 (£85,677; $108,000) to Ms Hermoso, and for Mr Rubiales to pay at least half of this amount.

She also requested a restraining order for Mr Rubiales, barring him from coming within 200 metres (656 feet) of Ms Hermoso and from communicating with her for the next seven-and-a-half years.

The scandal overshadowed a historic moment for Spain's women's team, which at the time was celebrating its first ever World Cup win.

During the trophy presentation ceremony, Mr Rubiales clasped Ms Hermoso's head between his hands and planted a kiss on her lips.

He was also criticised for grabbing his crotch when celebrating the win, while standing next to Spain's Queen Letizia and her daughter Princess Infanta Sofia.

The incident set off a wave of global anger at sexism at the highest levels of women's sport and led to boycotts of the national team by Spain's players as they called for changes to be made to women's football in the country.

Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso wearing a purple shirts and wearing her World Cup medal
Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso with her World Cup medal

Mr Rubiales was initially suspended by world football's governing body, Fifa, before he eventually stood down as both head of Spain's football federation and vice-president of the Union of European Football Associations (Uefa) in September.

In January, Fifa upheld a three-year ban from footballing activities for Mr Rubiales after he lodged an appeal.

Mr Vilda - the coach who led the women's team to their World Cup victory and an ally of Mr Rubiales - was also sacked in September amid the fallout from the scandal, but was appointed head coach for Morocco's women's team in October.