Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales' mum locks herself in church on hunger strike
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The mum of Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has locked herself in a church on a hunger strike following criticisms over her son's behaviour at the Women's World Cup final.
Rubiales sparked controversy when he kissed Spanish footballer Jenni Hermoso as she was receiving her medal for the World Cup win, but his mum, Ángeles Béjar, has made clear that she's standing by his side.
Spanish media has reported that Béjar has launched a hunger strike in response to the backlash, and is calling for Hermoso to 'tell the truth'.
After the kiss was caught on camera and shared online, Hermoso said on her social media she 'did not enjoy' the encounter, but initially told press the moment was a 'natural gesture of affection'.
Since then, Hermoso has released a statement on social media making clear the kiss was not 'consensual'.
"I feel the need to report this incident because I believe no person, in any work, sports or social setting should be a victim of these types of non-consensual behaviours," Hermoso wrote.
"I felt vulnerable and a victim of impulsive-driven, sexist, out-of-place act, without any consent on my part. Quite simply, I was not respected."
Béjar has now urged Hermoso to 'maintain the version she had at the beginning of the events'.
The mum told news outlet EFE that she will stay in the Divina Pastora church, located in the southern Spanish town of Motril, 'indefinitely, day and night' until the situation, which she described as an 'inhuman and bloody hunt' against her son, is resolved.
Béjar said the criticism against Rubiales is something 'he does not deserve', insisting he was 'incapable of harming anyone'.
She also claimed there was 'consent on both sides'.
Rubiales himself defended his actions when he gave a speech, asking: "Do you really think I deserve this hunt? People demanding my resignation? Is this so serious for me to resign, having done the best management of Spanish football?"
"The evidence is conclusive," the Spanish FA said in a statement. "Mr President has not lied."
In protest over Rubiales' behaviour, dozens of football players declared they will not play for Spain's women's team until he is removed from his post.
This weekend, FIFA suspended Rubiales from 'all football-related activities at a national and international level' for a period of 90 days.