Tuesday, 19 September 2023, 11:06
Footballer Jenni Hermoso has accused the Spanish federation of “intimidation and threats” after the world champion players were called up to play for the national team against their will.
The player, at the centre of the Luis Rubiales kissing scandal, was not included in the squad to play two upcoming Nations League matches, but voiced her concern on behalf of her team-mates who were called up.
"The players are very clear that this is another strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussions and economic sanctions," Hermoso said in a statement on social media platform X).
Rubiales’ kiss on Hermoso's lips during celebrations of Spain’s victory against England in the 2023 World Cup final in Australia sparked major controversy that led to his resignation as the president of the federation and the sacking of coach Jorge Vilda, who was replaced by Montse Tomé.
On Friday 15 September, 39 players, including 21 of the 23 World Cup players, said in a statement that the conditions were still not suitable for their return to La Roja and called for more changes in different departments of the federation.
However, on Monday 18 September, the new coach called up 15 of the champions to play against Sweden and Switzerland in the Nations League, a qualifying tournament in the lead up to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Most of them reacted quickly by reiterating "their desire not to be called up". The players are summoned to Madrid this Tuesday 19 September and, if they do not attend, risk heavy fines and between two and 15 years' suspension of their federation licence.
"I want to show my full support for my teammates who today have been surprised and forced to react to another unfortunate situation caused by the people who today continue to make decisions within the RFEF," said Hermoso in her statement.
Spain's all-time leading goal scorer was not included in the squad because, according to Tomé, it is "the best way to protect her". "Protect me from what, or from whom?" asked Hermoso in the statement, who then pointed out that the same people who ask for confidence in the RFEF "are today launching a list with players who have asked not to be called up".
El Diario Montañés
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