According to reports from the EFE news agency, the mother of Spanish soccer boss Luis Rubiales has started a hunger strike and locked herself inside a church in order to demonstrate her disapproval of what she refers to as her son’s “inhumane treatment” following an incident in which he grabbed and kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso.
Rubiales, who is the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), was suspended on Saturday by FIFA in the midst of a furor after he kissed Hermoso on the mouth during the awards ceremony following Spain’s victory in the World Cup on August 20 in Sydney. The ceremony took place in Australia. Hermoso has stated that she did not wish to have her lips kissed.
The RFEF has requested an emergency conference with all of the regional federations on Monday in order to assess the situation, which has developed into a heated debate on a national scale regarding women’s rights and macho behavior.
To ensure that football is a sector “that has decent conditions and spaces free of sexist violence,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz was scheduled to meet on Monday with leaders of the women’s players’ union FUTPRO, which represents Hermoso, as well as the Association of Spanish Footballers.
According to EFE, Angeles Bejar, Rubiales’s mother, stated that she will continue her strike “until a solution is found to the inhumane and bloody hunt they are carrying out against my son with something he does not deserve.” Rubiales has not committed any wrongdoing and should not be subjected to such treatment.
According to EFE, Bejar, who also encouraged Hermoso to speak the truth and “stick to the version she gave at the beginning”, was sleeping inside the parish church of Divina Pastora in Rubiales’ village of Motril, which is located in southern Spain, with her sister after the parish priest left.
Bejar told EFE that there was no sexual assault because there was permission on both sides of the encounter and that the photographs provided evidence of this. She demanded to know “why they’re taking it out on him” and “what is behind this whole story.”
Bejar added, “My son is incapable of hurting anyone,” and she meant it.
Rubiales, who is 46 years old, has remained adamant about the kiss, insisting that it was consensual despite the fact that Hermoso, her teammates, and the Spanish government have all condemned the kiss as unwanted behavior.
Rubiales declined to resign during a federation meeting on Friday, when it was widely believed that he would do so. He did so in an effort to explain his behavior, and he described the kiss as “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric, and consensual.” Rubiales was widely expected to stand down.
According to RFEF, Rubiales intends to defend himself legally in order to demonstrate “his complete innocence.”
Hermoso stated that she did not consent to the kiss and that she felt “vulnerable and the victim of an aggression” as a result of the encounter.
In recent years, gender issues have emerged as one of the most significant topics of discussion in Spain. The Socialist-led coalition government has presided over law reforms including those pertaining to equal pay or abortion rights. Tens of thousands of women have participated in street marches demonstrating against sexual abuse and violence.
A rally dubbed “With You Jenni” is scheduled to take place on Monday in Madrid and has been called for by feminist organisations. Sunday saw a large-scale protest against Rubiales take place in Salamanca, with hundreds of people participating.
Rubiales cannot be fired by the Spanish government, but the government has issued a strong condemnation of his behavior and said on Friday that it will seek to have him suspended through the use of a legal procedure before a sports tribunal.
On Friday, all 23 members of Spain’s squad that won the cup, including Hermoso, as well as scores of other members of the squad stated that they would not participate in international competitions as long as Rubiales was in charge of the federation. On September 22, they will play Sweden in the Nations League match that is next on their schedule.