In a dramatic move to protest what she calls a “merciless witch hunt” against her son, Angeles Bejar, the mother of the embattled Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales, has initiated a hunger strike. Rubiales, 46, is under the microscope after he planted a kiss on the lips of striker Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup final.
Bejar has secluded herself in a church in Motril, the southern Spanish coastal town where Rubiales grew up. In an interview with the Spanish news outlet EFE, she declared her hunger strike would go on “continuously, both day and night.”
Hermoso, 33, has stated publicly that the kiss, which occurred during the award ceremony in Sydney on August 20, was not given with her consent.
Rubiales was insistent that he would not step down when he spoke on Friday, only to be subsequently suspended by FIFA, the governing body of world football, the following day.
Members of the media have converged outside the Divina Pastora church in Motril, where Bejar is staging her protest. She told EFE that her son is being subjected to an “unjust and brutal onslaught” that he does not deserve.
Serving as the family’s spokesperson in Motril, Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz said, “The media is hounding us to an unbearable degree. We’ve even been forced to vacate our home. We’re asking for a cessation of this harassment and for Jenni to reveal the truth. This is a miscarriage of justice.”
The Spanish government has lodged an official request for Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD) to suspend Rubiales, a subject slated for discussion at a TAD meeting this coming Monday.
Meanwhile, the RFEF has summoned regional federations to a hastily scheduled “urgent and extraordinary” meeting to discuss the federation’s current crisis. FIFA, after suspending Rubiales, has issued a mandate preventing him, the RFEF, and its staff from any form of contact with Hermoso—whom the RFEF had earlier threatened with legal action.
Timeline of the Firestorm
August 20: Post Women’s World Cup ceremony, Rubiales kisses Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips. Hermoso later states in a live stream that she was uncomfortable with the act.
August 21: Amid widespread criticism from fellow footballers, media outlets, and even the Spanish Prime Minister, Rubiales apologizes for offending anyone but does not offer to resign.
August 24: FIFA initiates disciplinary proceedings to investigate Rubiales’ actions.
August 25: Rubiales stubbornly declares during an emergency RFEF meeting that he will not quit, insisting that the kiss was mutual. The Spanish government begins legal proceedings for his suspension, dubbing this incident as Spanish football’s own “MeToo moment.”
August 25: Later that day, Hermoso counterclaims on Instagram, insisting that the kiss was never consensual. Subsequently, 81 Spanish players, including the entire Women’s World Cup squad, vow not to play until Rubiales is ousted.
August 26: The RFEF announces its plans to take legal action against any false claims. On the same day, FIFA confirms Rubiales’ provisional suspension.
August 26: Jorge Vilda, the coach of the World Cup-winning team, criticizes Rubiales, and his entire coaching staff steps down in a display of dissent.
August 27: The RFEF’s sexual violence delegate confirms that an internal investigation is underway.
August 28: Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, commences a hunger strike in a church in his hometown of Motril.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Luis Rubiales controversy
What sparked the controversy involving Luis Rubiales?
The controversy was ignited when Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation, kissed Spanish forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the Women’s World Cup final award ceremony.
Who is Angeles Bejar, and why is she on a hunger strike?
Angeles Bejar is the mother of Luis Rubiales. She has gone on a hunger strike to protest what she perceives as a “merciless witch hunt” against her son following the kissing incident. She has secluded herself in a church in Motril for the duration of the strike.
What was FIFA’s response to the incident?
FIFA, the governing body of world football, has suspended Luis Rubiales pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings investigating his actions during the award ceremony.
What actions are being taken by the Spanish government?
The Spanish government has asked for Spain’s Sports Tribunal (TAD) to suspend Rubiales. The topic is set to be discussed in a TAD meeting.
How has Jenni Hermoso responded to the incident?
Jenni Hermoso has stated that the kiss was not consensual and has refuted Rubiales’ claims that it was. She made her stance clear through a statement on Instagram.
Have there been any collective actions from other players?
Yes, 81 Spanish players, including the entire squad that participated in the Women’s World Cup, have vowed not to play for Spain’s women’s team until Rubiales is removed from his position.
What’s the current status of the controversy?
As of the latest update, Rubiales’ mother has commenced a hunger strike, an internal investigation is underway by the RFEF, and FIFA has provisionally suspended Rubiales pending the outcome of its disciplinary proceedings.
What’s the public sentiment surrounding this issue?
The issue has garnered widespread attention and criticism, not just from the sports community but also from political figures and the general public. Many see this as a pivotal moment for addressing issues of consent and sexual harassment in Spanish sports.
Is there a timeline that tracks the events related to this controversy?
Yes, the article provides a comprehensive timeline that details the unfolding events, starting from the initial incident on August 20th up to the most recent developments.
What is the “extraordinary and urgent” RFEF meeting about?
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has called for an “extraordinary and urgent” meeting among regional federations to discuss the crisis the federation is currently facing due to the controversy involving its president, Luis Rubiales.
More about Luis Rubiales controversy
- FIFA Official Statement on Rubiales Suspension
- Jenni Hermoso’s Instagram Statement
- Spanish Football Federation’s Official Website
- Coverage of Spanish Government’s Legal Proceedings
- Interview with Angeles Bejar on EFE
- Jorge Vilda’s Resignation Announcement
- Spanish Sports Tribunal Information
- Public Reactions to Rubiales Controversy
- Spain’s Women’s World Cup Victory
- Timeline of the MeToo Movement