The embattled Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) took a new hit when striking Spanish internationals called up to the women’s team expressed their wish not to be a part of the team.
The majority of the 15 Women’s World Cup champions who were called up by new coach Montse Tome on Monday for Nations League matches indicated they would not play for their nation until more significant changes had been made at the federation.
After facing an extraordinary global criticism following his forcible kiss of player Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s victory in Sydney on August 20, the former president Luis Rubiales resigned three weeks later.
Following the incident, more than 80 Spain players went on strike. Despite Rubiales’ resignation and the dismissal of contentious coach Jorge Vilda, 39 players stuck by their position in a statement released late Monday, calling for additional structural change.
Tome did not select Hermoso, 33, in the squad, saying it was to protect her.
“Protect me from what? And from whom?” Hermoso posted on X, formerly Twitter.
She accused the Spanish federation of seeking to “intimidate and threaten” the World Cup champion players by calling them up against their will for the upcoming matches.
All of the 39 players that Tome called up posted a message on social media, including two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.
“(We made) clear … our firm will not to be summoned for justified reasons. These statements are still fully valid,” said the Spain players in their statement.
The players said that they would research the potential legal ramifications of the RFEF’s selection of them; according to Spanish media sources, if they do not comply with the call-up, they risk losing their right to play for an extended period of time.
They also noted in the statement that they believe the squad not being named soon enough according to FIFA regulations meant the federation “would not be able to demand” that players are called up.
“We regret that once more our federation has put us in a position in which we never wanted to be in,” added the players.