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Luis Rubiales news LIVE: Spanish FA president’s mother opens up about ongoing hunger strike

The fallout from Rubiales kiss of Jenni Hermoso continues as the Spanish Football Federation finally request the resignation of their beleaguered president

Luke Baker,Michael Jones
Wednesday 30 August 2023 16:59 BST
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Protesters gather in Madrid calling for Spanish football federation president to resign

The fallout from Luis Rubiales’ kiss row is finally coming to a head as his mother has explained her hunger strike in order to end the “inhumane witch-hunt” on her son and leading officials within the Spanish Football Federation (Rfef) have asked the suspended president to resign.

Rubiales’ mother locked herself in a church in their hometown of Motril on Monday to conduct the hunger strike, although she broke her cover on Tuesday evening to discuss the situation with the world’s press. Angeles Bejar urged Jenni Hermoso to ‘tell the truth’ about the president’s on-pitch kiss of her following the Women’s World Cup final that has led to accusations of sexual assault.

Her son was suspended by Fifa for kissing Hermoso on the lips in an act the footballer says she did not consent to. Fifa banned Rubiales from all football-related activity for 90 days over his conduct and have launched an investigation into his behaviour, while Spanish police are now investigating the federation president for alleged sexual assault. The heads of the regional bodies that make up the Spanish FA have now also produced a collective statement asking for Rubiales’ resignation.

Following his high-profile refusal to resign at a press conference last Friday, the Spanish women’s national team signed a letter stating their intent not to play for the country until Rubiales is removed from his role and the coaching staff – excepting manager Jorge Vilda – have all walked out. And in bizarre new developments, the Spanish FA requested that Uefa excludes their national and club teams from all European competitions because of Spanish government intervention in the crisis – a request which Uefa has denied.

Follow all the latest updates from the Luis Rubiales crisis:

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Luis Rubiales is just the latest crisis in Spanish FA’s dark history

As of Wednesday afternoon, Luis Rubiales was completely isolated and yet still officially the head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (Rfef). It is an absurd situation that symbolises so much about a story that is at once so serious and also utterly farcical, not least when it comes to the organisation itself.

The regional chiefs that form the Rfef’s assembly finally turned on Rubiales by requesting his resignation on Monday, but they don’t actually have the power to force it. The 46-year-old still has to take the decision, which would come just days after he repeatedly announced: “I am not resigning!”. In the meantime, he is suspended from all football-related activities by Fifa, which could take it even further once its investigation concludes.

So much of this story has developed from Rubiales’ distinctive personality, to put it generously. And yet the very fact such a personality is so difficult to remove from the role is a reflection of something much bigger, which has also provoked even more discussions about what Spanish football has been and where it is going.

Full story, by chief football writer Miguel Delaney:

Luis Rubiales is just the latest crisis in Spanish FA’s dark history

The Spain players’ complaints about Rubiales and manager Jorge Vilda echo disturbing events under the previous regime in what is a deep-rooted problem in the Spanish Football Federation

Lawrence Ostlere30 August 2023 16:59
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‘I am willing to die:’ Luis Rubiales’ mother continues hunger strike locked inside church

The mother of suspended Spanish football president Luis Rubiales remains locked inside a church on hunger strike in protest against her son’s treatment after he kissed Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips at the World Cup final.

“I will remain here for as long as my body can,” Angeles Bejar messaged a Spanish TV station from inside the church in Motril, southern Spain. “I am willing to die for justice because my son is a decent person and it is not fair what they’re doing.”

Bejar is holed up inside the parish church of Divina Pastora in the family’s home town, alongside her sister. Speaking outside the church on Monday, Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz described Bejar as a “woman of great faith who has sought refuge in God”, and said the family wanted Hermoso to “tell the truth” that the kiss was not forced.

‘I am willing to die:’ Luis Rubiales’ mother continues hunger strike inside church

Angeles Bejar remains inside her local church in the town of Motril while her son refuses to resign as president of the Spanish Football Federation

Luke Baker30 August 2023 14:00
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Andres Iniesta speaks out against Rubiales

Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta has spoken out on social media about the conduct of Rubiales and how his refusal to accept responsibility for unacceptable actions has tarnished Spain’s World Cup win.

“After what has happened this week, I would like to convey my sadness, as a person, as the father of three daughters, as a husband and as a footballer, in the face of the events that we are experiencing in our football and around the Spanish women’s team,” wrote Iniesta.

“I believe that we cannot tolerate performances like the ones we have seen, which have tarnished a milestone as big as winning a World Cup. I cannot imagine the feeling that all the players of the national team must have right now seeing how they are not talking about the great tournament they had and the fantastic football they taught us all.

“It’s a shame that a beautiful story that many players have built over so many years has become dirty. Instead, we have had to put up with a president who has held on to his position, who has not admitted that his behaviour has been unacceptable and that it is damaging the image of our country and our football around the world.”

Spain star Alexia Putellas, meanwhile, told Spanish media she was fully behind her teammate Jenni Hermoso and that the event showed women’s football is still playing catch-up to the men’s game, with respect and equality in treatment still sadly lacking.

Luke Baker30 August 2023 13:40
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Luis Rubiales - latest updates

The Rubiales scandal, with the actions of coach Jorge Vilda tied in, has stirred memories of and anger at Nacho Quereda’s behaviour, too.

The former long-term coach of the Spanish women’s team also suffered a variety of allegations about his behaviour while in charge of the side.

Luke Baker30 August 2023 13:20
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Rubiales crisis hangs over European football ahead of Uefa Awards

Uefa heads to its annual awards gala on Thursday in Monaco amid turmoil created by its vice president from Spain.

Luis Rubiales won’t be at the high-end ceremony in Monte Carlo where the awards for best player and coach will be handed out because he has been suspended by Fifa but Spain could sweep the women’s prizes despite being in the midst of the scandal.

Fifa suspended Rubiales, who is both the president of the Spanish football federation and a vice president at Uefa, for at least 90 days while it investigates the kiss he forced on Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso and the ongoing fallout from his overall conduct at the final in Australia.

UEFA has stayed publicly silent in the 10 days since Rubiales provoked a furore in Spain and elsewhere, later fuelled by his defiant refusal to resign. Even after Fifa formally opened a disciplinary case on Thursday, Uefa did not say if it had taken action against Rubiales, who makes 250,000 euros annually as a vice president of that organization.

“No solidarity,” former England men’s striker Ian Wright said of Uefa in a social media post, using an expletive to show his dismay with how the organisation is treating the women’s game. “These are the same people in charge of leading the future of women’s football.”

On Thursday, either Aitana Bonmati or Olga Carmona of Spain is likely to be named as the women’s player of the season in Europe for 2022-23. The other candidate is Australia forward Sam Kerr.

Voting for the awards was done by coaches of leading clubs and national teams in women’s football, plus media, and the candidates were announced Friday just as Rubiales was refusing to resign at an emergency meeting of the Spanish federation.

Barcelona coach Jonatan Giraldez and England coach Sarina Wiegman — the only woman nominated in the category — are up against controversial Spain coach Vilda for the Uefa coaching award. The Champions League draw will also be held at the event.

Luke Baker30 August 2023 13:00
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Spanish FA president kissing midfielder at World Cup final ‘ruined’ celebration, says Lioness Jess Carter

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales’ behaviour at the World Cup final “ruined” Spain’s victory celebrations, England international Jess Carter has said.

Speaking to ITV, the Lioness described Rubiales’ decision to kiss Jenni Hermoso as “unacceptable” and questioned if a similar incident would occur in the men’s game.

Carter said: “For me, Spain have just achieved an incredible thing and it’s almost been tarnished a little bit by one person’s actions.

“That moment ruined what should have been only a massive celebration for Spain and for Jenni Hermoso.”

Jess Carter: Spanish FA president kissing midfielder ‘ruined’ celebration

Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales’ behaviour at the World Cup final on Sunday (20 August) “ruined” Spain’s victory celebrations, England international Jess Carter has said. Speaking to ITV, the Lioness described Rubiales’ decision to kiss Jenny Hermoso as “unacceptable” and questioned if a similar incident would occur in the men’s game. Carter said: “For me, Spain have just achieved an incredible thing and it’s almost been tarnished a little bit by one person’s actions. “That moment ruined what should have been only a massive celebration for Spain and for Jenny Hermoso.”

Luke Baker30 August 2023 12:40
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Rubiales’ behaviour after World Cup shows ‘worst of Spanish society’, says deputy prime minister

Spain’s deputy prime minister has strongly condemned the behaviour of FA president Luis Rubiales after he was accused of grabbing and kissed Women’s World Cup player Jenni Hermoso on the lips.

Yolanda Diaz said on Monday 28 August that male chauvinism was “systemic” in Spain and had been shown in its worst form when Mr Rubiales on Friday refused to resign as president of Spain’s soccer federation.

Spain’s deputy prime minister condemns Rubiales’ behaviour after World Cup final
Luke Baker30 August 2023 12:20
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Luis Rubiales - latest updates

A Spanish striker is boycotting the national team in protest against FA president Luis Rubiales.

Rubiales has faced growing calls from across sport and politics to resign from his post running Spanish football after his behaviour at the Women’s World Cup final, where he grabbed his crotch in an aggressive celebration and forcefully kissed one of the players, Jenni Hermoso, on the lips.

He was expected to step down in a press conference on Friday morning but instead declared he would not resign, blamed Hermoso for the kiss and hit out at “false feminism”.

Borja Iglesias, 30, who plays for Real Betis and has made two appearances for the Spanish national team, declared on social media that he would no longer put himself forwards for selection until “this type of act does not go unpunished”.

Spain striker boycotts national team in protest against FA president Luis Rubiales

Borja Iglesias, 30, who plays for Real Betis and has made two appearances for the Spanish national team, declared on social media that he would no longer put himself forwards for selection

Luke Baker30 August 2023 12:00
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Uefa rejects Spanish expulsion plea as Luis Rubiales crisis takes bizarre twist

Earlier this week, developments in the Luis Rubiales controversy took a dramatic and strange twist as key figures from within the Spanish FA asked for its own teams to be expelled from Uefa competition.

Miguel Delaney has the details:

The request to the European body that is being seen as the most significant, given it sums up how surreal the story has become.

With Rubiales facing a series of official complaints and a government process that could yet see him banned from sport in Spain for two to 15 years – to go with his current 90-day suspension from Fifa – the federation sent a request to Uefa to be expelled for breaking Uefa’s own statutes on state interference. Expulsion would see clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona kicked out of European competitions such as the Champions League.

The move has been interpreted as “bluster” and “brinkmanship” by the federation in order to support Rubiales, but it would still involve all of Spain’s club and national teams being removed from competition, depriving them of income and – in the words of one party – “setting Spanish football back years”.

Full report:

Uefa rejects Spanish expulsion plea as Luis Rubiales crisis takes bizarre new twist

The Spanish Football Federation has attempted to get itself expelled from Uefa competitions in an act of ‘brinkmanship’ while its president is investigated for sexual assault

Luke Baker30 August 2023 11:40
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Spanish football’s ‘MeToo moment’ is a mirror for the entire game

Right up until the moment that Luis Rubiales took the microphone at the Spanish federation on Friday afternoon, senior figures in Uefa were adamant he would resign. The expectation had even stopped some prominent football officials publicly speaking out.

What followed, even for a sport like this, left many involved “speechless”. It says more than any statement, mind, that Rubiales’s “jaw-dropping political speech” – to use the words of one shocked source – probably wasn’t the most consequential moment of the day. All of this will eventually lead to real action, way beyond words or Spanish football.

In terms of the most immediate effect, Fifa has now suspended Rubiales for 90 days and ordered him not to contact the player he kissed on the lips after the World Cup final, Jenni Hermoso.

Four official complaints against Rubiales are now being investigated and they could ultimately see him banned from sport for anything between two to 15 years.

“This is the end,” Miquel Iceta, Spain’s minister for culture and sport, told El Pais. “This can’t continue like this.”

Our Chief Football Writer Miguel Delaney breaks down what the ongoing Rubiales scandal means:

Spanish football’s ‘MeToo moment’ is a mirror for the entire game

Jenni Hermoso and the Spanish team have taken a stand against FA president Luis Rubiales in a landmark moment for football

Luke Baker30 August 2023 11:20

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