Spanish prosecutors investigate Luis Rubiales for World Cup kiss

FIFA suspended Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales (C) for 90 days for his kiss of midfielder Jenni Hermoso during the trophy celebration at the 2023 Women's World Cup on Aug. 20 in Sydney. Photo by Fernando Villar/EPA-EFE

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into suspended Royal Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales for his World Cup kiss of midfielder Jenni Hermoso, they announced Monday.

"We have agreed to contact Jennifer Hermoso in order to inform her of her rights as a victim of an alleged crime of sexual aggression in the next 15 days," the Spanish Prosecutors Office said in a statement.

That announcement came after federation officials called an "urgent" meeting Monday morning in the wake of protests, FIFA suspended Rubiales for three months and widespread support of Hermoso, who says Rubiales gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips during the celebration ceremony for the World Cup on Aug. 20 in Sydney.

Meanwhile, a feminist group plans to protest Monday night in Madrid in support of Hermoso, as fellow players continue to back the midfielder. The Royal Spanish Football Federation told Sky Sports, ESPN and the BBC that it would host its "extraordinary and urgent" meeting at 10 a.m. EDT in Madrid.

On Saturday, FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, suspended Rubiales for 90 days pending disciplinary proceedings. FIFA opened those proceedings Thursday, four days after the federation president kissed Hermoso during the World Cup trophy presentation.

Rubiales, who has faced rampant criticism from players, soccer and government officials and Spain coach Jorge Vilda, has refused to resign. He said Friday at a general assembly at federation headquarters in Madrid that the controversy was the result of "fake feminism."

Rubiales contends that the kiss was "consensual" and that Hermoso initiated it. Meanwhile, the federation has threatened to take legal action against Hermoso, accusing her of lying about the incident.

On that footage, Rubiales can be seen pulling the midfielder's head forward with both hands and kissing her on the lips.

Hermoso, who previously said she did not like the kiss, again denied this weekend on social media that it was consensual.

"I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual," Hermoso wrote on Instagram. "I want to reiterate as I did before that I did not like this incident."

On Saturday, Spain's Supreme Sports Council (CSD) filed a petition to the Administrative Sports Court (TAD), requesting Rubiales' removal. The council called his behavior "unacceptable" in the news release.

On Friday, 81 Spanish players, including 23 from the World Cup winning team, announced they would not play again in international competition until Rubiales was removed.

Hermoso said on social media that she is thankful for the support she has received from fans, teammates and others. That support has led to what many, including CSD president Victor Francos Diaz, are referring to as Spanish soccer's "Me Too" movement.

A hashtag reading "#SeAcabó," which translates to "it's over," trended over the last week in support of Hermoso. Supporters, including men's and women's players in Spain's La Liga and Liga F, also wore shirts that featured the same phrase at their soccer games.

A Spain-based feminist group -- Feminismos Madrid -- announced that it plans to hold a protest Monday night in the capital city to "demand a sport free of sexist violence."

Pedro Rocha Junco is serving as interim federation president amid Rubiales' hiatus.