Elderly Mom Of Spanish Soccer Chief Starts Hunger Strike After He’s Suspended For Kissing Women’s Star Player
Noemi Llamas/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

After her son, the president of the Spanish soccer federation, was suspended because he kissed a member of Spain’s women’s team on the mouth after the team won the Women’s World Cup, the elderly mother of the president locked herself into a church and went on a hunger strike.

Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales had kissed women’s team member Jenni Hermoso on the lips, prompting FIFA, the soccer world’s governing body, to provisionally suspend him.

Rubialies’ mother Angeles Bejar — who has locked herself in the Divina Pastora church in Motril, east of Malaga — called the treatment of her son an “inhumane witch-hunt” while initiating an “indefinite, day and night” hunger strike until “justice is served,” The Daily Mail reported. She stated she wanted Hermoso, who had stated the kiss was not consensual, “to tell the truth” and “maintain the version she had at the beginning of the events,” according to Marca.

Bejar opined there was “no sexual abuse as there is consent on both sides, as shown in the images” and wondered “why are they being cruel to him” and what was “behind all this story” as her son was “incapable of harming anyone.”

Rubiales had told Spanish officials that he had asked permission to kiss Hermoso and she said he could give her “a little peck.”

Hermoso responded on Twitter, “I feel obliged to report that Mr. Luis Rubiales’ words explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated. I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation which Mr. Luis Rubiales refers to in his address take place, and, above all, was his kiss ever consensual. I want to reiterate as I did before that I did not like this incident. The situation shocked me given the celebrations that were taking place at the moment, and with the passage of time and after delving a little deeper into those initial feelings, I feel the need to report this incident because I believe that no person, in any work, sports or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviors. I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part.”

Rubiales’ cousin Vanesa Ruiz Bejar spoke to reporters outside the church where his mother was staying, saying, “The statement I’m about to make is extremely difficult. … There’s a campaign of harassment occurring that is very unfair. Luis’ mum who is a very religious person has sought refuge in God and started a hunger strike. She doesn’t want to come out of the church. We are all suffering a lot because of what’s happened to Luis which doesn’t seem at all fair to us.”

“He’s been condemned already without being tried,” she continued. “It’s not normal. … The facts speak for them, there are videos, there are audio recordings.”

Turning to Hermoso, she said, “Jenni, say the truth. Why has she changed her version three times? We have suffered a lot, we have had to leave our homes because of the harassment we’re suffering.”

She added of Bejar, “She’s an elderly lady whose health is very delicate and she’s suffering a lot. She’s crying all time and is not able to sleep and is not eating. The person that spends five minutes with Luis knows he’s a really good person with a big heart. He’s a very noble person.”

Asked how long the hunger strike would last, she responded, “Until that woman speaks and tells the truth. I’m not saying who’s the baddie and who’s the goodie here, but I just want Jenni to tell the truth.”

Spain’s federation (RFEF) said it would take legal action against Hermoso, releasing a statement claiming Rubiales’ claim that Hermes lifted him off the ground before the kiss was accurate. As The Athletic reported, they showed four photos of Hermoso and Rubiales embracing, then stated, “the facts exposed by Mr. President are absolutely true and that he is not lying. … The evidence is conclusive. Mr. President has not lied. The RFEF and Mr. President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself. The RFEF and the president, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the Futpro Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions.”

Olga Carmona of the Spanish women’s team, who scored the winning goal, stated, “I am not going to let anyone cloud the fact that we have been world champions. I am going to refrain from any kind of comment, I am going to focus on enjoying the moment and on everything that is coming after achieving that title and nothing else. It is already a reality that we have won a World Cup. We are already landing and we already know what we have achieved and the caliber and repercussion of being champions.”

“I wrote a tweet in which I supported Jenni Hermoso but once again, in this case I don’t want to get involved or make any kind of comment. It’s all in the hands of those in charge,” she concluded.

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