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Spanish prosecutors investigating soccer president who kissed World Cup player

World Cup-winning captain Jennifer Hermoso will have around two weeks to ask for a case against suspended federation chief Luis Rubiales, who kissed her after Spain's triumph.
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Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation of Spain's soccer federation chief, officials said Monday, in connection with his kiss on the lips of a player shortly after Spain won the World Cup.

The national prosecutors also invited the player, team captain Jennifer Hermoso, to reach out to them in the next 15 days to report herself as a possible victim of sexual aggression by federation president Luis Rubiales, officials said.

Women and soccer fans around the globe were stunned when Rubiales kissed Hermoso flush on the lips during the medal ceremony after Spain’s thrilling 1-0 victory over England in Sydney a week ago Sunday.

Hermoso has said that the kiss wasn't consensual and that “I felt vulnerable and a victim of an impulse-driven, sexist, out-of-place act without any consent on my part.”

Also Monday, Ángeles Béjar, Rubiales' mother, went on a hunger strike to protest action against her son.

Béjar took refuge in the Church of the Divina Pastora de Motril on the southern Spanish coast and defended her son. She said her hunger strike will run “indefinitely, day and night,” the Spanish news agency EFE reported.

“My son does not deserve what they are doing to him,” she said, adding that he's the target of an “inhuman and bloody hunt.”

The sport's international governing body, FIFA, suspended Rubiales on Saturday from all soccer activities for 90 days.

Rubiales has been defiant in the face of withering worldwide criticism, saying the kiss was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual."

He has refused to resign.

His cousin Vanessa Ruiz Béjar told reporters outside the church that their family is suffering greatly.

“That she doesn’t want to leave the church, that his family, we, are suffering very much for him, that we don’t think what’s happening is just," she said. "We want to be left in peace and that justice be done and that this woman tells the truth.”

The kiss has marred what had been joyous national celebration of La Roja's first time lifting the Women's World Cup.

Spain joined an elite club of countries to have won women's soccer's most coveted trophy, alongside the U.S., Germany, Japan and Norway.

But now the worldwide attention on Spain has centered on its patriarchal culture and the growing support for Hermoso.

The phrase "Contigo, Jenni," or "with you, Jenni," has been used as a social media hashtag and handwritten on shirts, arms and even athletic tape of players around the world in recent days.