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Luis Rubiales should stand trial over World Cup kiss, says Spanish judge

Spain’s former football federation chief should stand trial over the non-consensual kiss he planted on a female player at the Women's World Cup final, a judge has said.

Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips as her team collected their winners' medals after Spain's victory against England in Sydney, in August last year.

The events shook the sporting world and in a new statement, High Court judge Francisco de Jorge has said that contrary to Rubiales' statements, an investigation has shown the kiss "was not consensual and was a unilateral and surprising initiative".

Up until now, the case has been handled by an investigative judge. Prosecutors and lawyers can still present arguments, and the court will then decide whether to call a trial and, if one does go ahead, when to hold it.

The judge is also seeking a trial for Jorge Vilda, the women's team's former coach; Albert Luque, the men's team's director; and Ruben Rivera, the federation's marketing chief, for pressuring Hermoso to say the kiss was consensual.

He found evidence that the co-defendants tried to make Hermoso "record a video in which she would say the kiss was consensual" and may have therefore committed a related offence.

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Hermoso lodged a criminal complaint of sexual assault and coercion in September, saying she felt "vulnerable and a victim of an aggression".

Earlier this month, she testified to court that the kiss was not consensual. The judge has also heard from other World Cup-winning players, coaches and federation officials.

The kiss took place on 20 August last year and prompted outrage from many football fans - but Spain's equivalent of the FA initially stood by Rubiales.

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At a news conference held days after the incident, its members - including Vilda - applauded as the chief refused to stand down from his role.

The social media hashtag #SeAcabo, meaning "it's over", became a rallying cry as people reiterated calls for him to be sacked.

After three weeks, during which time the Spanish women's team refused to play for their country, Rubiales finally resigned.