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Ex-Spain Football Boss In Court Over World Cup Kiss Scandal

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Five days after resigning as Spain’s football chief, Luis Rubiales is due in court Friday on sexual assault charges over forcibly kissing women’s World Cup player Jenni Hermoso.

The 46-year-old has been summoned to Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional court at midday (1000 GMT) where he will appear before Judge Francisco de Jorge who is heading up the investigation.

At the hearing, which will be closed to the public, Rubiales will be questioned as a defendant in regards to allegations of “sexual assault”, a court statement said earlier this week.

Hermoso will also be called to testify at a later date.

The case comes barely four weeks after Rubiales sparked outrage when he forcibly kissed the midfielder in front of the world’s media after Spain defeated England in the final on August 20.

Rubiales, who was head of Spain’s RFEF football federation at the time, has repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual.

Hermoso has said it was not and that it left her feeling like the “victim of an assault”.

De Jorge on Monday admitted a complaint against Rubiales filed the previous week by the public prosecutors’ office, citing alleged “offences of sexual assault” and “coercion”.

Under a recent reform of the Spanish penal code, a non-consensual kiss can be considered sexual assault, a category which groups all types of sexual violence.

If found guilty, Rubiales could face anything from a fine to four years in prison, sources at the public prosecutors’ office have said.

In their complaint, prosecutors said they had included the offence of coercion because of Hermoso’s statement in which she said “she and those close to her had suffered constant ongoing pressure by Luis Rubiales and his professional entourage to justify and condone” his actions.

The global furore over the incident all but eclipsed the victory celebrations for Spain’s World Cup champions.

‘100% Non Sexual’ 

After three weeks of refusing to resign over the kiss, Rubiales, who was suspended by FIFA on August 26, stood down late on Sunday but continued to insist the kiss was consensual in a TV interview with Britain’s Piers Morgan.

“What we had is a spontaneous act, a mutual act, an act that both consented to, which was driven by the emotion of the moment,” he said, describing the kiss as “100 percent non-sexual”.

The hearing comes with new coach Montse Tome, the first woman to lead the team, set to announce her squad on Friday for UEFA Women’s Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland on 22 and 26 September.

Her first job will be to try and convince the 23 world champions to don the red jersey again after they and dozens of others said they would not play for the national team without significant changes at the head of the federation.

The players have not yet said what they will do following Rubiales’ resignation although the situation has changed since the RFEF sacked their controversial coach Jorge Vilda, named Tome in his stead and pledged further internal reforms.

“We have had discussions.. I don’t think there will be any problem,” Rafael del Amo, head of the RFEF’s women’s football committee told Cope radio on Tuesday.

“I think things will move forward.”

AFP

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‘Emotions were running high’ – Tyson Fury’s father apologises after headbutting Oleksandr Usyk team member

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John Fury’s apology after the altercation with a member of Oleksandr Usyk’s team demonstrates accountability, though it’s unfortunate such an incident happened so close to such an important fight.

The confrontation, captured on camera and widely shared, showed John Fury headbutting Stanislav Stepchuk, resulting in a bloody forehead for John. This kind of incident, especially in the lead-up to a major bout, can generate unnecessary tension and distractions.

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s upcoming fight in Riyadh is significant, with the potential to determine the first undisputed heavyweight champion in 24 years. Given the stakes, it’s essential for both camps to maintain a level of professionalism and focus.

John Fury’s background as a former boxer and bare-knuckle fighter might contribute to his intense demeanor during fight weeks. While his outspoken nature has often landed him in headlines, physical altercations should be avoided, especially on such a public stage.

In his apology, John acknowledged the high emotions surrounding the event and expressed remorse for the incident. However, he also indicated that the other party had been disrespectful and implied that such actions could lead to a physical response.

Hopefully, this incident will serve as a reminder for all involved to keep emotions in check and focus on the upcoming fight.

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Olofinjana queries NFF’s one-year contract for Finidi

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Seyi Olofinjana’s concerns about the length of Finidi George’s contract with the Super Eagles are understandable. It’s true that coaching at the international level requires a different set of skills and experiences compared to club football.

A one-year contract with an option for another year might seem short for such a crucial task as guiding the Super Eagles to the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2025 Africa Cup of Nations. However, it’s not uncommon for football federations to opt for shorter contracts initially, allowing for an evaluation period before committing to a longer-term deal.

Olofinjana rightly points out that many successful coaches started with limited experience. Pep Guardiola is a prime example. However, it’s crucial to provide adequate support and time for a coach to develop and implement their vision effectively.

While a longer contract may have instilled more confidence in Finidi and his plans, the reality is that the NFF opted for a shorter term. This decision might be due to various factors, including financial considerations, the desire for flexibility, or a wait-and-see approach.

Olofinjana’s call for trust and support is crucial. Regardless of the contract length, it’s essential for everyone involved to rally behind Finidi and give him the backing he needs to succeed. With the right support and resources, Finidi can prove himself and lead the Super Eagles to success, even within the constraints of a one-year contract.

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Super Falcons’ Nnadozie scoops another big award in France

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Chiamaka Nnadozie’s achievement is truly remarkable, not just for her, but for Nigerian and African football as a whole. Winning the UNFP award for the best goalkeeper in the French women’s league is a historic feat, underscoring her exceptional talent and dedication.

Her performances for Paris FC in the 2023/24 season evidently stood out, leading to her recognition ahead of a competitive field. Beating established goalkeepers like Christiane Endler and Katarzyna Kiedrzynek showcases the quality of Nnadozie’s displays.

Moreover, winning the best goalkeeper award in the French D1 Arkema last month further solidifies her status in women’s football. Her penalty-saving prowess, in particular, has been outstanding, with a remarkable seven penalties saved this season, the highest in Europe. This not only reflects her shot-stopping abilities but also her mental strength and composure in crucial moments.

Nnadozie’s achievements highlight the growing influence of African players in top European leagues and inspire young talents across the continent to aim for excellence on the global stage.

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