Spain’s top criminal court has opened a preliminary investigation into the country’s football federation president Luis Rubiales after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips.
The prosecutors are looking into whether the incident amounts to a crime of sexual assault.
Rubiales, 46, has been widely criticised after the incident following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win.
Hermoso, 33, said the kiss was not consensual.
Rubiales was suspended on Saturday by world football’s governing body Fifa.
The previous day, Rubiales had insisted he would not resign.
The court said it was opening the investigation in light of the “unequivocal nature” of Hermoso’s statements, saying it was necessary “to determine their legal significance”.
“Given the public statements made by Jennifer Hermoso, the sexual act she was subjected to by Luis Rubiales was not consensual,” a statement said.
Legal experts will also contact the player “to offer her the option of legal action, giving her the chance to contact National Court prosecutors within 15 days for information about her rights as a victim of an alleged sexual assault should she wish to file a complaint”.
It added: “In order to proceed with a case for sexual assault, harassment or sexual abuse, it will be necessary for the injured party or their legal representative to file suit, or the public prosecutors’ office.”
The Spanish government has asked for Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD) to suspend him – a request which will be discussed at a TAD meeting on Monday.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) has also called regional federations to an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting on Monday “to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself”.
When Fifa announced Rubiales had been suspended on Saturday, it ordered him, the RFEF and its officials and employees not to attempt to contact Hermoso, who the RFEF had threatened with legal action earlier that day.