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Spain players face punishment if they refuse to play: government

(FILES) Spain’s players stand in a huddle ahead of the Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women’s World Cup final football match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia in Sydney on August 20, 2023. – Almost all of the Spain’s Womens World Cup-winning squad will continue to reject national team call-ups unless there are more changes at the Spanish football federation following the scandal over Luis Rubiales’ unsolicited kiss, the players said on a statement on September 15, 2023. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Striking Spain players would be punished if they do not attend their national team camp after being called up, the Spanish government said early Tuesday.

Victor Francos, the president of Spain’s High Council for Sports (CSD), said he would have to apply the country’s sports law in the absence of the selected players.

New Spain coach Montse Tome called up 15 of the World Cup winners for upcoming Nations League games on Monday, but the majority of them are striking from the national team to seek major changes in the Spanish football federation.

Disgraced president Luis Rubiales resigned after kissing midfielder Jenni Hermoso, who was not called up by Tome, a month ago in Sydney after Spain’s World Cup triumph.

Controversial coach Jorge Vilda was also sacked, but for 39 striking players the changes did not go far enough.

“If they don’t turn up, the government would have to apply the law, which is a pity for me, but the law is the law,” Francos told radio station Cadena Ser.

Spain’s sports law from 2022 states that athletes must attend the call-ups of the national teams when summoned, and not doing so would be a “very serious” infraction.

The potential fines range between 3,000 and 30,000 euros ($3,200 to $32,100), while they