The mother of Spain’s soccer federation president Luis Rubiales launched a hunger strike on Monday in protest of the drama surrounding her son.
Ángeles Béjar has locked herself inside the Divine Shepherdess church located out in Rubiales’ hometown of Motril, Spain, and has vowed to continue her strike indefinitely until her son was vindicated.
“There is no sexual abuse since there is consent on both sides, as the images prove…My son is incapable of hurting anyone,” Béjar told EFE. “This is a bloodthirsty witch hunt.”
FIFA launched an investigation into Rubiales after he was seen on stage at the Women’s World Cup celebrations kissing player Jenni Hermoso. FIFA has suspended Rubiales for 90 days while the organization investigates.
Rubiales’ cousin, Vanessa Ruiz Béjar, confirmed to Teledeporte that his mother was on strike and said what was happening to the family was “not fair”.
“He has been judged ahead of time and he should be left in peace,” Ruiz Béjar said.
Meanwhile, Hermoso has released a lengthy statement disavowing Rubiales and reiterating her initial stance that she “did not like what happened” when the kiss occurred. She asserted the kiss was non-consented.
The Spanish team has also responded to the incident by vowing to boycott future matches if Rubiales is still in charge. The team’s head coach, Jorge Vilda, criticized Rubiales and expressed regret that his behavior had affected the team’s historic win.
“I regret deeply that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behavior that our until now top leader, Luis Rubiales, has carried out and that he himself has recognized,” Vilda said in a statement. “There is no doubt that it is unacceptable and does not reflect at all the principles and values that I defend in my life, in sport in general and in football in particular.
Rubiales has said he will not resign despite the persistent calls and has received some support from federation officials. While he has apologized and acknowledged making a “mistake,” his mother’s hunger strike is yet another display of her family’s refusal to accept the accusations against her son.