MADRID (AP) — Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas and two of her teammates on Spain’s women’s national team appeared before a judge Monday as witnesses in the investigation of former soccer federation president Luis Rubiales for kissing a player on the lips.
Putellas, Irene Paredes and Misa Rodríguez all answered questions from the judge in Madrid. Rodríguez appeared in court in the Spanish capital, while Putellas and Paredes testified via video from Barcelona.
Spanish state prosecutors have accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the awards ceremony after the Women’s World Cup final in August.
Spanish media, citing court sources, said the three players told the judge that Rubiales and other federation members tried to convince players to downplay the kiss. The court has not officially released details of the testimony.
Some federation officials and former national team coach Jorge Vilda, who was replaced not long after winning the Women’s World Cup in Australia, have been summoned as investigated parties. They are set to appear before the judge next week. Vilda was among those accused of trying to convince Hermoso to back Rubiales after the kiss.
Rubiales eventually resigned and the players ended their boycott of the national team after being given some guarantees of change within the federation. Some federation officials have already been fired as a result.
Hermoso is also expected to testify at some point.
According to a sexual consent law passed last year, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence of one to four years if found guilty of sexual assault. The new law eliminated the difference between “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault,” sanctioning any unconsented sexual act.
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