Mother of Spanish Soccer President Goes on Hunger Strike Amid Controversy Over World Cup Kiss

The mother of Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales announced she will be going on a hunger strike amid the growing controversy surrounding her son kissing Jennifer Hermoso after World Cup win.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Aug 29, 2023 5:31 PMTags
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The controversy over Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales continues.

More than a week after he came under fire for kissing Spanish soccer player Jennifer Hermoso on the lips after Spain secured its first World Cup victory on Aug. 20, leading to calls for his resignation, his mother has weighed in with her own show of support for her son. 

Ángeles Béjar told Spanish state news agency EFE Aug. 29, per the Associated Press, that she will remain at a church in Motril, Spain, on a hunger strike "day and night" until what she described as the "inhumane hounding" of her son ends. She was reportedly joined by Rubiales' cousin Vanessa Ruiz, both of whom called upon Hermoso to "tell the truth" about the kiss. 

In addition to previously claiming that the kiss was consensual, Rubiales shared a video statement on August 21 attributing the incident to "moment of elation, without any intention of bad faith."

But despite the 45-year-old's claims, Hermoso released her own statement on Aug. 25 in which she expressed that the kiss was not only not consensual, but that she's been receiving pressure to "make a statement that could justify" the soccer president's actions.

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"I feel obliged to report," the 33-year-old shared in a statement to her social media, in both Spanish and English, "that Mr. Luis Rubiales' words explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated."

She continued, "I want to make it clear that at no time did the conversation to 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."

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She added, "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 an consent on my part."

And while FIFA, soccer's global governing body, announced on Aug. 26 that it has suspended Rubiales for 90 days in light of his behavior, further calls for his resignation are climbing within Spain. 

In fact, leaders within the Spanish Football Federation released a statement calling for Rubiales' resignation. 

"After the recent events and the unacceptable examples of behaviour that have seriously damaged the image of Spanish football," read an August 28 statement on the federation's website, "the Territorial Presidents' Committee request that Mr. Luis Rubiales present his resignation as president of the RFEF immediately. We would like to enthusiastically congratulate the women's national football team on their World Cup triumph. We would like to express our admiration and gratitude to an outstanding group of players and we extend our congratulations to all those who, over the years, have worked hard to contribute to the growth of women's football."

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