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Mother of Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales hospitalised amid hunger strike in church after son kisses female player
30 August 2023, 19:36 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 15:30
The mother of suspended Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has been rushed to hospital amid a days-long "hunger strike" after her son kissed a female footballer.
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Rubiales' mum Angeles Bejar suffered a panic attack and abandoned the protest on its third day.
She had been staging the hunger strike at a church in Motril, in southern Spain, where the parish priest confirmed she had been hospitalised "as a matter of urgency".
She had earlier told Spanish media that she planned to stay in the Divina Pastora church "indefinitely, day and night".
Rubiales was suspended by FIFA after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso after the World Cup final, in which Spain beat England.
Motril priest Father Antonio said: "Angeles has been taken as matter of urgency to the Sant Ana hospital after suffering a health crisis, a panic attack.
"The discomfort was due to high temperatures and other factors. She had swelling in her feet and obvious signs of fatigue. In addition, she was remarkably nervous."
Ms Bejar seemingly will not resume her strike after her treatment, with Father Antonio telling reporters: "She won't be coming back here even when she has recovered."
He added: "She left about 6.15pm via a back door of the church.
"She still wasn't eating and was just drinking water and isotonic drinks but my understanding is she'll have to break her hunger strike now.
"I don't know if she is being accompanied by relatives now and how she got to hospital because I didn't see an ambulance.
"But Luis Rubiales spoke to her before she went and between various relatives they decided Angeles should go to hospital."
Ms Bejar earlier labelled the controversy surrounding her son's kiss with Hermoso a "hunt...that he does not deserve".
She has urged Hermoso to "tell the truth" and "maintain the version she had at the beginning of the events".
Rubiales is "incapable of harming anyone", Ms Bejar said, claiming there was "consent on both sides".
Hermoso said immediately after the kiss that she "did not like it", though Rubiales has maintained he had consent.
He sent FIFA a copy of a new clip that showed Hermoso joking about the kiss after it took place. A source close to the suspended Spanish football supremo claimed it was "gold dust" for him, the Mail Online reported.
Announcing an investigation earlier, the Spanish FA's Maria Dolores Martinez Madrona said: "Our protocol is currently activated and in the midst of investigating the events, thus we demand the utmost respect for the right to privacy and dignity of all individuals involved," she said in a letter published by the organisation.
"As the protection delegate for sexual violence, my duty is to adhere to the protocol and safeguard the privacy of those affected by this incident and of the Sexual Violence Advisory Committee."
The Spanish FA, known as the RFEF, has also called regional federations to an "extraordinary and urgent" meeting on Monday "to evaluate the situation in which the federation finds itself".
Luis Rubiales justifications for World Cup final kiss 'reeks'
After being suspended, Rubiales is unable to take part in any football-related activities for 90 days, according to the governing body's disciplinary committee.
FIFA took the extraordinary move to protect "the fundamental rights of the national soccer team player Ms. Jennifer Hermoso and the good order of the disciplinary proceedings", it said.
Members of the RFEF have also been told not to contact Hermoso.
FIFA added that it "reiterates its absolute commitment to respect the integrity of all persons and therefore condemns with the utmost vigor any behavior to the contrary."
Rubiales has refused to quit despite pressure from the women's team, several major Spanish clubs and even the country's government.
Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales' unconsensual kiss at women's World Cup final 'isn't a big deal’.
The RFEF has even vowed legal action against Hermoso and accused her of lying about whether she had consented in the kiss.
The World Cup-winning squad has vowed to stop playing while he remains in post, with Hermoso slamming the federation's “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture".
Rubiales was also seen grabbing his crotch while standing near Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter Princess Infanta Sofia at Stadium Australia last weekend.
"I will not resign, I will not resign," he told an extraordinary general assembly called by the RFEF on Friday. "A social assassination is taking place here."
Rubiales apologised for the kiss on Monday before FIFA, world football's governing body, opened disciplinary proceedings against him on Thursday.
"I'm ready to be vilified to defend my ideals," he added.