Spanish prosecutor files complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault, coercion

People protest against Royal Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales

MADRID (Reuters) -A Spanish prosecutor has filed a complaint with the High Court against suspended soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion over his allegedly unsolicited kiss on the lips of World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso.

Prosecutor Marta Durantez Gil's decision came three days after Hermoso lodged a criminal complaint. It is up to the court to present formal charges.

The complaint, announced on Friday, describes how Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the mouth "without her consent" while holding her head with both hands after Spain defeated England in the women's World Cup final in Sydney on Aug. 20. Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual and has defied calls from players, government officials and others for him to resign.

Durantez also appealed to Australian authorities to clarify whether the incident would be considered a sexual crime in that country.

During her testimony to the prosecutor, Hermoso said she and her relatives were put under pressure from Rubiales and his "professional entourage" to say that she "justified and approved what happened", the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The prosecutor added a possible crime of coercion by Rubiales as a result, according to the statement.

The incident has unleashed a wave of indignation against sexism in Spain, resulting in the temporary suspension of Rubiales by FIFA after he refused to step down and the sacking of the team's coach Jorge Vilda, an ally of the federation president.

The prosecutor for Spain's High Court has said Rubiales could face a sexual assault charge, which carries a prison term of between one and four years if Hermoso, who lives and plays in Mexico, were to file a complaint.

Rubiales did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Hermoso's agent.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Andrei Khalip)