A Spanish judge on Friday banned Spain’s ex-football chief Luis Rubiales from going within 200m of 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup winner with the Spanish national team Jenni Hermoso.
Prosecutors had filed for the restraining order as the national court in Madrid considered a criminal complaint of sexual assault and coercion.
Appearing in court for the first time, Mr Rubiales denied sexually assaulting Ms Hermoso by kissing her on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup win.
Ms Hermoso’s lawyer was adamant it was a “non-consensual kiss.”
Mr Rubiales resigned his position as head of the football federation (RFEF) earlier this week and appeared in a closed court session on Friday to deny two criminal offences.
Judge Francisco de Jorge was asked to bar him from approaching within 500m (1,600ft) of Jenni Hermoso or from communicating with her.
He later agreed to the order but placed restrictions at 200m (650ft), adding that Mr Rubiales should not contact the player during the investigation.
A further request that he should appear before the judge every 15 days was rejected.
Spain won the Women’s World Cup in Australia on 20 August, but the team’s success has been overshadowed ever since by Mr Rubiales’s actions during the celebrations after the final whistle.
He arrived in court in a black suit and white shirt, and spent a reported 45 minutes being questioned by the judge.
After denying the allegations against him, he left the court alongside his lawyer Olga Tubau.
Mr Rubiales has maintained that when he held her head in his hands and kissed her on the lips it was mutual and consensual. He eventually resigned on Sunday as president of the federation, declaring: “I have faith in the truth and I will do everything in my power so that it prevails.”
Ms Hermoso, 33, says that she did not consent to the kiss. Prosecutors submitted her initial complaint of sexual assault and added one of coercion, arguing that he had put pressure on the Spain forward to come to his defence amid uproar in the days after the kiss.
Outside court, her lawyer Carla Vall said that everyone had seen what had happened: “We can say precisely that thanks to [these images], and thanks to social change and changes in the law, we can show that Mr Rubiales had a complete lack of consent.”
Spain’s left-wing government reformed laws on consent in the past two years after a notorious gang-rape case in 2016 that led to five men being cleared of rape.
Under the so-called “Only Yes is Yes” law, a non-consensual kiss can be considered an offence of sexual assault, so Mr Rubiales could face a fine or even a jail sentence if the case goes to trial and he is found guilty.
Five days after the World Cup victory, Jenni Hermoso issued a statement saying that no person in a work, sport or social setting should be a victim of such non-consensual conduct: “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act, without any consent on my part.”
She is due to give evidence to the court at a later date.
The judge will decide whether the case goes to trial after examining a series of videos from before, during and after the ceremony.
Izuchukwu Okosi is a Nigerian sports and entertainment journalist with two decades of experience in the media industry having begun his media journey in 2002 as an intern at Mundial Sports International (MSI) and Africa Independent Television (AIT), owners of Daar Communications Plc.
In October 2004, Okosi joined Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports newspaper and Complete Football magazine as a reporter and later script writer for the Complete Sports studio.
He worked there for 13 years until October 2017.
Okosi also worked various times as Correspondent, Content creator and Editor at Sports Market International Magazine, Opera News, All Nigeria Soccer Media and Iconic Media Watch.
He also undertook freelance writing gigs for some local and international organizations.
Okosi is a member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Association of Voiceover Artistes of Nigeria (AVOA), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He has been part of cast in some Nollywood movies and radio dramas including Blood Money 2, Scores To Settle, Dead End 2, Another Campus Tale and Battle Line.
Aside mainstream media and the entertainment industry, he has interests in scouting/unearthing of talents in the sports and creative sectors, exports business and property development.