Former Spanish Football Association (FA) President Luis Rubiales has been banned from coming within 200 meters of Spanish player Jenni Hermoso.
This decision comes after 39 female Spanish soccer players, including almost the entire World Cup squad, raised safety concerns following a controversy involving Rubiales allegedly kissing Hermoso without consent.
In a joint statement issued on Friday (15 September), the players, including Alexia Putellas, Olga Carmona, and former Manchester United player Ona Batlle, expressed their concerns. They emphasized that recent changes within the FA were insufficient to create a safe and respectful environment for women in soccer.
A Spanish court has imposed a restraining order on former Spanish FA boss Luis Rubiales to prevent him from coming within 200 metres of Jenni Hermoso. pic.twitter.com/amyvAI0faw
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 15, 2023
The statement asserted the players' commitment to women's soccer and their desire to give their best for the national team. They called for significant structural changes to ensure a more equitable future for the sport.
Several players who had previously withdrawn from the Spain squad over conditions within the national team also signed the statement - including Mapi Leon and Patricia Guijarro.
Spain's new coach, Montse Tom, also had to delay her squad announcement following the players' statement. The federation's efforts to persuade the players to return to the team were unsuccessful.
Montse Tom now faces the decision of whether to call up the dissenting players or form an entirely new team for the upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland on 22 and 26 September.
Judge Francisco de Jorge's order fell short of the state prosecutors' request for a 500-meter restraining order. Rubiales denied any wrongdoing during the court hearing, insisting that Hermoso had consented to the kiss. However, Hermoso has consistently refuted this claim.
Spanish state prosecutors formally charged Rubiales with sexual assault and an act of coercion last week. According to Hermoso, Rubiales pressured her to defend him immediately after the scandal broke.
Spain's ex-football boss Luis Rubiales banned from going within 200m of Jenni Hermoso, as court imposes restraining order https://t.co/ehy7kzUNax
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) September 15, 2023
The investigation into Rubiales is ongoing, and a judge will determine whether the case should proceed to trial. If found guilty of sexual assault under Spain's new sexual consent law, Rubiales could face a fine or a prison sentence ranging from one to four years. This law abolished the distinction between "sexual harassment" and "sexual assault," penalizing all non-consensual sexual acts.