Luis Rubiales: Spain football president's mother goes on hunger strike after kiss controversy

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Aug 28, 2023, 10:54:02 AM8/28/23
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Luis Rubiales: Spain football president's mother goes on hunger strike after kiss controversy


Luis Rubiales has refused to step down after kissing Jenni Hermoso after Spain's Women's World Cup final win over England; FIFA have suspended the Spanish FA chief but his mother has now locked herself in a church and gone on hunger strike in protest at his treatment


UEFA has rejected a request from the Spanish football federation (RFEF) to have itself suspended by European football's governing body.


The RFEF complained to UEFA that the Spanish government was interfering in the running of its affairs as they investigate Luis Rubiales, the organisation's president, after he kissed Jenni Hermoso in the wake of Spain's Women's World Cup win earlier this month.


UEFA statutes say member associations should manage their own affairs without any third-party influence.


The RFEF's requests would have Spanish clubs and Spain's national teams excluded from European competitions if UEFA had decided to take action.


UEFA and Aleksander Ceferin, its president, have been in regular contact with FIFA about the Rubiales case.


As the Women's World Cup was a FIFA competition and Rubiales' actions fell under its jurisdiction, it was agreed the FIFA disciplinary bodies would deal with the case.


Yolanda Diaz, Spain's labour minister, said Rubiales acted with "sexual aggression", adding his actions have "been spread throughout the world" but are not "representative of our country".


Rubiales acted in a way that was "profoundly discriminatory", Diaz said, adding she "deplores" the fact that the government did not act sooner in response to Rubiales' behaviour.


"The government is acting very positively but I think it's deplorable that it was FIFA that brought in the sanction and not us," she said.


Rubiales' mother on hunger strike

The mother of Rubiales has locked herself inside a church and announced a hunger strike in protest at his "inhumane treatment" following his unsolicited kiss on Hermoso.


Rubiales has refused to step down from his role but has been suspended by FIFA.


He was widely expected to resign at a meeting on Friday but instead made a defiant speech, claiming he was the victim of a witch-hunt by "false feminists".


The RFEF has since called an "extraordinary and urgent" meeting over the situation, scheduled for Monday.


But Rubiales' mother has now taken action. Angeles Bejar said her strike would last "until a solution is found to the inhumane and bloody hunt they are carrying out against my son with something he does not deserve", according to EFE news agency.


According to EFE, Bejar stayed inside the parish church of Divina Pastora in Rubiales' hometown in southern Spain, Motril, with her sister after the parish priest left.


She asked Hermoso to tell the truth and "stick to the version she gave at the beginning", EFE added.


"There is no sexual abuse since there is consent on both sides, as the images prove," Bejar told EFE as she questioned "why they're taking it out on him" and what "is behind this whole story".


"My son is incapable of hurting anyone," Bejar said.


Rubiales has been defiant over the kiss - which has been condemned as unwanted by Hermoso, her team-mates and the Spanish government - arguing it was consensual.


The RFEF has issued a statement for him, saying Rubiales "will defend himself legally in the competent bodies" to prove "his complete innocence".


Hermoso said she did not consent to the kiss, adding she felt "vulnerable and the victim of an aggression".


Gender issues have become a prominent topic in Spain in recent years. Tens of thousands of women have taken part in street marches protesting against sexual abuse and violence, and the socialist-led coalition government has presided over legal reforms, including around equal pay or abortion rights.


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