Spanish Soccer President's Mom Locks Herself in a Church, Goes on Hunger Strike amid World Cup Kiss Controversy

Ángeles Béjar's hunger strike comes after her son's suspension for his controversial kiss at the World Cup final

The mother of Spanish soccer president Luis Rubiales has locked herself in a church and declared she is on a hunger strike following her son’s suspension after he gave soccer player Jennifer Hermoso a kiss on the lips.

Hermoso, 33, says the kiss was unsolicited, while Rubiales called the exchange "consensual."

Vanessa Ruiz, a relative of Rubiales, told Spanish news agency EFE that Rubiales' mother Ángeles Béjar is “a very religious person who has gone on hunger strike and does not want to leave the church” in response to the controversy surrounding the kiss, which they want Hermoso to “tell the truth” about.

On Aug. 20, after Spain's first-ever FIFA Women's World Cup win, Rubiales, 46, grabbed Hermoso by her face and kissed her on the lips. Rubiales was also seen in videos kissing several other players on the face during their celebration and grabbing his crotch in the crowd after the team’s win.

<p>Richard Callis / SPP/Sipa USA via AP</p> Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso after Spain won the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

Richard Callis / SPP/Sipa USA via AP

Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso after Spain won the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup 2023

Related: Spain’s Women’s Soccer Team Refuses to Play Until President Resigns for World Cup Kiss

Despite multiple reports that he would confirm his resignation, Rubiales refused to step down at an emergency assembly on Friday.

"I've come under a lot of pressure. Perhaps somebody will look to remove me on Monday. But we live in a country of laws. Is a consensual kiss enough to remove me? I'm going to fight until the end. I hope the law is followed, and that as there's no reason to [remove me], it won't happen," he said during his speech to the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), per ESPN.

Hermoso issued her own statement Friday on Twitter, now known as X, writing in Spanish that “in no moment did I consent to the kiss that he gave me and in no moment did I try to pick up the president,” according to PBS.

"Simply put, I was not respected," she wrote. "I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out of place act without any consent on my part."

Related: Spain Makes History as the 2023 Women’s World Cup Champions After a 1-0 Win Against England

<p>Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty</p> Jennifer Hermoso

Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty

Jennifer Hermoso

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Hermoso added that she had been pressured to release "a joint statement" that "could justify" the president's actions. "Under no circumstances can it be my responsibility to bear the consequences of conveying something I do not believe in, which is why I have refused the pressures received," she wrote.

FIFA issued a statement confirming that Rubiales was suspended "from all football-related activities at national and international level” for 90 days starting Saturday.

Rubiales was also told "to refrain, through himself or third parties, from contacting or attempting to contact the professional player of the Spanish national football team Ms. Jennifer Hermoso or her close environment," per FIFA's statement.

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