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Outcome of inquiries awaited as Luis Rubiales remains suspended over controversial World Cup events
World cup controversy

Outcome of inquiries awaited as Luis Rubiales remains suspended over controversial World Cup events

Meanwhile, the mother of the RFEF president has ended her hunger strike in Motril in support of her son

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Malaga

Friday, 1 September 2023, 11:50

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The mother of beleaguered Spanish football president, Luis Rubiales, ended her hunger strike on Wednesday this week. Ángeles Béjar, who is in her 70s, had spent two and a half days locked in her parish church in Motril, (Granada province), Rubiales' home town. She had said that she would not stop until it was accepted that her son had permission to kiss Jenni Hermoso in Australia. Her son, meanwhile, had pleaded with her not to go on hunger strike in support of him.

In the end, Béjar, developing health problems after drinking just water and energy drinks, went into hospital on Wednesday and returned home in the evening, leaving the media scrum that had been following her every move - in the absence of sightings of her son - to disperse.

When she first began her hunger strike, family members had said that Béjar was demanding that Hermoso "tell the truth" and return to the "position" she had taken straight after the kiss in Australia.

Rubiales' mother said there was an "inhuman and bloody hunt" against him.

Ángeles Béjar, mother of Luis Rubiales, when she made an appearance before the press.
Ángeles Béjar, mother of Luis Rubiales, when she made an appearance before the press. Pepe Marín

Rubiales' cousin, Vanessa Ruiz, added that there was "unfair harassment and shooting down [of Rubiales' reputation], saying that "his family was suffering very much", explaining that he has "been judged too soon" and asking for the family to be left alone.

With the amount of outrage being directed at the head of the Spanish football association Luis Rubiales, this week, it was sometimes hard to remember he was still technically in the over 700,000-euro-a-year role he so cherishes.

Luis Rubiales' non-consensual kiss from Spanish national team player Jenni Hermoso in the minutes after the team victory in Australia, and his subsequent very public statement last Friday refusing to resign, has succeeded in igniting strong opinion and objections in almost every direction.

The effect has been felt in the world of football: Hermoso has made an official complaint; women players are now refusing to play for their country while he is in charge; world-governing-body FIFA has suspended him for 90 days pending their investigation, forcing the Spanish FA to take away his salary and official chauffeur-driven car.

The effects have also spread through politics and society at large: parties have queued up to criticise his behaviour - Rubiales had been seen as close to the PSOE- a threat of a police investigation for sexual aggression and a street protest convened by the feminist movement and left-of-centre parties.

And that is not forgetting the explosion of long-standing feuds and other, intertwined rivalries in Spanish sport leadership linked to Rubiales, whose reputation as a strong but divisive character was well known a long time ago: the tenuous position of the women's team coach, Jorge Vilda, who was widely derided by his own team even before the World Cup and who had relied on Rubiales for support and the enmity between Rubiales and Javier Tebas, head of LaLiga, Spain's premier league. Tebas did not shy away from commenting this week. "It is not a question of the left or the right," Tebas said, "No opportunism justifies a madman touching his genitals and forcing kisses," in reference to the series of images from the World Cup final in Sydney.

The government's own sports' tribunal and FIFA are both carrying out inquiries before any penalties are decided.

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