The mother of Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales is on hunger strike over the “inhuman” treatment of her son, according to reports in Spain.
Rubiales was provisionally suspended by FIFA on Saturday pending an investigation into his conduct at the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney on August 20.
The 46-year-old grabbed his crotch in the stadium’s VIP area in celebration of Spain’s win over England, when he was stood metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter.
He then kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medals presentation, something she says was done without her consent.
The crisis has now taken a bizarre turn with Rubiales’ mother, Angeles Bejar, having reportedly locked herself in a church in his hometown of Motril, and refusing to eat.
Bejar told Spanish news agency EFE the strike was “indefinite” and was being done to highlight the “inhuman hunt” against her son, who on Friday refused to resign amid pressure to do so.
Rubiales’ cousin Vanessa Ruiz added: “We are suffering a lot for him. He has been judged before his time.
“(The media) don’t stop harassing us. We had to leave our house. We want them to leave us alone and for Jenni to tell the truth. It’s not fair.”
FIFA has suspended Rubiales for an initial period of 90 days. He and the Spanish federation (RFEF) have also been ordered not to contact Hermoso either directly or through intermediaries.
Hermoso has accused the RFEF of a “manipulative, hostile and controlling culture” as a total of 81 players signed a letter stating they will not accept national team call-ups while Rubiales remains in situ.
FUTPRO, the union which put out the statement on behalf of the players, has been contacted by the PA news agency to establish whether the signatories of the letter will play for Spain while Rubiales is provisionally suspended.
The world champions’ next match is scheduled to be away to Sweden in the Women’s Nations League on September 22.
Spain’s coaching staff, with the exception of head coach Jorge Vilda, have resigned en masse.
Vilda issued a statement on Saturday criticising Rubiales’ behaviour in Sydney, describing it as “inappropriate” and “unacceptable”, but he did not tender his resignation.
Rubiales’ conduct at the World Cup final has been widely criticised, but he refused to resign (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Rubiales said on Friday he had been the victim of a “social assassination” and stated loudly and repeatedly “I am not going to resign” to rounds of applause at an extraordinary general assembly of the RFEF.
FIFA’s decision to suspend Rubiales from all football activity means he is also currently unable to carry out his duties as a UEFA executive committee member and vice-president.
European football’s governing body has yet to comment on the case.