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Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales's mother on hunger strike over her son's treatment

President of Spain's soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, right, hugs Spain's Aitana Bonmati on the podium following Spain's win in the final of Women's World Cup.
President of Spain's soccer federation, Luis Rubiales, right, hugs Spain's Aitana Bonmati on the podium following Spain's win in the final of Women's World Cup. Copyright Alessandra Tarantino/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Alessandra Tarantino/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with EFE
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In a desperate move, the mother of Spain's football chief has locked herself in a church in southern Spain and declared a hunger strike, as prosecutors open an investigation into his conduct.

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A week after Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, kissed Spain's Jenni Hermoso at the Women's World Cup awards ceremony, his reputation is in tatters and his future hangs in the balance.

In a desperate attempt to defend her son, Ángeles Béjar, Rubiales' mother, locked herself in the Divina Pastora church in Motril, southern Spain, and declared a hunger strike.

She won't stop, she says, until the authorities find a solution to the "inhuman and bloody hunt they are conducting against my son with something he doesn't deserve".

This came on the same day that the Spanish Public Prosecutor's Office opened an "investigation" following complaints against Luis Rubiales, offering Hermoso the opportunity to file a complaint against him for sexual assault.

Based on the player's statements, the prosecutor has no doubt that Rubiales' kiss on the mouth was "not consensual".

Some regional football association presidents are considering a vote of no confidence against Rubiales, according to Spanish media.

Indefinite hunger strike

Rubiales's mother told the Spanish news agency EFE that she would remain in the church "day and night" and on strike "indefinitely" until justice is done for her son.

The woman remained in the parish church with her sister after the priest left.

Luis Rubiales' mother has asked Jenni Hermoso to "tell the truth" and "maintain the version she had at the beginning of the incident".

The Spanish FA president, whose leadership had already been marked by successes marred by scandal, wrecked his career by offending millions around the world with his behaviour at the final in Sydney, Australia, when he also grabbed his crotch in a victory gesture.

"Rubiales cannot manage Spanish football again," said Spanish minister María Jesús Montero on Sunday, a day after he was provisionally suspended by FIFA for 90 days.

"We had enough of him when he spoiled the great triumph of women's football with his intolerable attitude."

Alessandra Tarantino/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Spain's Jennifer Hermoso, right, and head coach Jorge Vilda listens to reporters questions during a press conference.Alessandra Tarantino/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

FIFA took action against Rubiales after he refused to resign and defiantly told an emergency meeting of his association on Friday that he was the victim of a "witch-hunt" by "fake feminists".

On a day that will go down as one of the ugliest in Spanish football, Rubiales said that striker Jenni Hermoso had consented to the "mutual" kiss.

Hermoso replied in two statements that this was false and that she considered herself the victim of an abuse of power. She also accused the federation of trying to pressure her into supporting Rubiales.

The federation hit back, saying she was lying and that it would take legal action against her.

As part of his decision to suspend Rubiales, FIFA disciplinary judge Jorge Palacio ordered Rubiales and the association to refrain from contacting Hermoso.

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