'Nothing has changed': Spanish players' demands for reform at federation not being met
Some of Spain's World Cup-winning players started reporting to training camp Tuesday despite not wanting to be called up for the national team while fighting for changes in the soccer federation.
Local media showed some of the players arriving at the hotel where the team will stay in Madrid, with their arrival coming a day after new coach Montse Tome ignored their decision not to play until their demands for reform at the federation were met.
The players had said in a statement on Monday that they were caught by surprise by the call-up and did not plan to end their boycott, but those who don't show up risk breaking a Spanish sports law that requires athletes to answer the call of national teams unless there are circumstances that impede them from playing, such as an injury.
It was the latest embarrassing chapter in Spanish soccer in a crisis ignited by former federation president Luis Rubiales kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the Women's World Cup last month.
Hermoso, who said she did not consent to the kiss during the awards ceremony, accused the federation of trying to intimidate the players by picking them for the national team even though they asked not to be called up.
She said in a statement early Tuesday the federation's decision to call up nearly half of the 39 players who said they would not play for the national team as a protest was "irrefutable proof" that "nothing has changed."
The players had made it clear that they wouldn't come back until their demands for significant change and new leadership in the federation were met, but Tome on Tuesday picked 15 of the players who helped Spain win its first Women's World Cup last month.
Tome left Hermoso off the list "as a way to protect her,"