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Everything we know about that World Cup kiss so far: a timeline

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

The infamous kiss after the World Cup final against England turned what would be a glorious victory for Spain, into a signifier of sexual assault. As the Spanish team collected their medals, the Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales, grabbed the midfielder Jenni Hermoso’s head and kissed her directly on the lips. Rubiales claims the kiss was consensual, yet Hermoso tells a different story, with her lawyer declaring it was a non-consensual kiss. So, what do we know so far about this incident? Here’s a timeline:

Sunday 20th August 2023

Spain win the World Cup and the kiss happens. 

Later on in the dressing room, Rubiales is caught on footballer Salma Paralluelo’s Instagram live joking that he would marry Hermoso with his arm around her and offered to pay for a team trip to Ibiza. 

Jenni Hermoso also hosts her own Instagram live from the dressing room. Speaking on the incident, she says: “Hey, I didn’t like it.” Other players are also seen in the live reacting to a video of the kiss, with faces of disgust and disapproval. Hermoso then says out of camera to a teammate: “But what do I do?”

Monday 21st August 2023

Rubiales apologises in a video posted on social media by Spanish television:

“Certainly I made a mistake and I have to acknowledge that. It was done without any ill attention in a moment of the highest exuberance…Sorry for those who were offended.”

Thursday 24th August 2023

The world football governing body Fifa begins disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales in order to investigate his conduct.

Friday 25th August 2023

It is widely reported that Rubiales would resign. But he doesn’t. In a speech at a general assembly of the Spanish football federation, he contests:

“Do you really think I deserve this hurt? People demanding my resignation? … having done the best management of Spanish football?”

He passionately continues: “I will not resign. I will not resign. I will not resign.”

Rubiales also says the kiss was consensual. 

On the same day:

Hermoso releases a statement, declaring: “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an aggression, an impulsive act, sexist, out of place and without any type of consent from my part. In short, I wasn’t respected.”

However, the Spanish football federation accuses Hermoso of lying and threaten to take legal action against her.

Hermoso receives support from more than 80 football players, including all 23 players who took part in the World Cup, with them all refusing to play for Spain’s women’s team until he steps down.

The Spanish government open legal proceedings in an attempt to suspend Rubiales.

Spain’s Secretary of Sport, Victor Francos, says he wants this to be “the ‘MeToo’ of Spanish football”

Saturday 26th August 2023

Fifa’s governing body provisionally suspend Rubiales, after he had insisted he would not resign the day before.

On the same day, the head coach of the Spanish women’s team criticises Rubiales and the entire coaching staff resign in protest.

Monday 28th August 2023

Spanish prosecutors announce they have begun a preliminary investigation into Rubiales’ actions as a possible crime of sexual assault, and they offer Hermoso the opportunity to formally file against him. 

Protests persist around Spain against Luis Rubiales.

Tuesday 29th August 2023

A video emerges of Hermoso and teammates laughing on the team bus after the final. She says in the video “he comes and hugs me like this” while showing a comparison meme of ex-Spanish football player, Iker Casillas, passionately kissing his wife, Sara Carbonero. 

Wednesday 30th August 2023

Rubiales’ mother, Ángeles Béjar, is admitted to hospital after going on a three-day hunger strike and locking herself in a church in protest of her son’s position. That evening, she was discharged from hospital after responding well to treatment and was reunited with her son. In the midst of her hunger strike, Béjar had stated “I don’t care to die for justice…My son is a decent person and what they are doing to him is not fair.”

Wednesday 6th September 2023

Hermoso formally accuses Rubiales of sexual assault and sources close to the footballer confirm to ESPN she is pressing charges against Rubiales. 

Sunday 10th September 2023

Piers Morgan releases a clip from a TalkTV interview with Rubiales, where Rubiales says he plans to clear his name and announces he will resign as president of the Spanish football federation.

In a statement he posted to social media explaining his resignation, Rubiales stated that he is “innocent” and “a victim of persecution”. 

Friday 15th September 2023

39 female football players announce they still do not feel safe playing for Spain, following the sexual assault claims, and will not play for their country until changes have been made to the federation.

The case is taken to the Spanish National Court in Madrid. 

Rubiales denies sexually assaulting Hermoso.

Hermoso says she was pressured into playing the kiss down, yet Rubiales denies this. 

Hermoso’s lawyer states it was a “humiliating act [Jenni Hermoso] experienced in the stadium and which has tarnished such a sporting milestone, such a victory.”

As the final verdict, the judge sets a restraining order against Rubiales, as the court claim the act was one of sexual assault and coercion. Rubiales is officially prohibited to go within 200 meters of Jenni Hermoso. 

While this story began as a sporting victory, it has quickly turned into a tale of justice and has become a historic moment for Spanish feminism. The accusations of sexual assault and coercion against Rubiales could lead to a prison sentence, yet this case remains inconclusive. 

Edited by: Lila Frost

Lara Gallop is a writer for Her Campus Media at the University of Leeds. Outside of Her Campus, Lara studies BA Sociology at a third year level. In her spare time, she enjoys a pub night, watching Friends or Fleabag, and eating out.