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Luis Rubiales: Spanish FA President’s Mother on Hunger Strike Over Kiss Row

The mother of Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has gone on a hunger strike because of the “inhuman hunt” against her son.

There has been widespread criticism of Rubiales, 46, after he kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s Women’s World Cup final win.

His mother, Angeles Bejar, has now locked herself in a church in Motril.

She told Spanish news agency EFE the strike would continue “indefinite, day and night”.

Hermoso, 33, said the kiss during the presentation ceremony in Sydney on 20 August was not consensual.

Rubiales vowed not to resign on Friday but was suspended by world football’s governing body Fifa on Saturday.

Spanish media have gathered outside the Divina Pastora church in Motril on the southern Spanish coast, the town where Rubiales was raised.

Bejar told EFE that the “inhuman and bloody hunt that they are doing with my son is something he does not deserve”.

Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz, who acts as a family spokesperson in Motril, said: “We are suffering a lot for him. He has been judged before his time.

“They (media) don’t stop harassing us. We had to leave our house. We want them to leave us alone and for Jenni to tell the truth. It’s not fair.”

The Spanish government has asked for Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD) to suspend Rubiales, 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 it announced it had suspended Rubiales on Saturday, Fifa 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.

How did the situation get to this point?

20 August – During the ceremony following the World Cup final, Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso is first embraced and then kissed on the lips by Luis Rubiales.

Hermoso later reacts to the kiss during a live stream and says she “did not enjoy” it.

21 August – Rubiales issues an apology saying he is “sorry for those who were offended” after being fiercely criticised by other footballers, the media and even by the Spanish prime minister, some of whom called on him to step down.

24 August – World football’s governing body Fifa opens disciplinary proceedings to examine Rubiales’ actions.

25 August – A defiant Rubiales insists at a RFEF emergency meeting that he will not resign, and calls the kiss “consensual”.

25 August – The Spanish government says it is beginning legal proceedings seeking to suspend Rubiales, with the Spanish secretary of sport saying he “wants this to be Spanish football’s MeToo moment”.

25 August – Later that day, Hermoso releases a statement on Instagram rebuffing Rubiales’ claims, saying that “at no time… was his kiss ever consensual”.

25 August – 81 Spanish players – including all 23 players who went to the Women’s World Cup – announce they will not play for Spain’s women’s team until Rubiales is removed from his position.

26 August – The Spanish football federation says it will take legal action over “each falsehood that is spread”.

26 August – Fifa announces it is provisionally suspending Rubiales pending the outcome of its disciplinary proceedings.

26 August – World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda criticises Rubiales while his entire coaching staff resigns in protest against the federation president.

27 August – Federation’s delegate for sexual violence protocol confirms an internal investigation into events is under way.

28 August – Rubiales’ mother goes on hunger strike in a church in his hometown of Motril.

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