Spain players reiterate strike intention despite national call-up
BARCELONA: Striking Spanish internationals called up to the women's team reiterated their desire not to form part of the squad in a new blow for the shaken Spanish football federation (RFEF).
New coach Montse Tome called up 15 of the Women's World Cup winners earlier on Monday (Sep 18) for Nations League matches, most of whom had said they did not want to play for their country until wider changes had been made at the federation.
Former president Luis Rubiales resigned three weeks after he forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso following Spain's triumph in Sydney on Aug 20, after receiving an unprecedented worldwide backlash.
Over 80 Spain players went on strike after the incident and despite Rubiales' resignation and controversial coach Jorge Vilda being sacked, 39 players maintained their stance in a statement late on Monday, demanding more 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.
The players called up by Tome who were in the 39 all published a statement 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 they would study the potential legal actions they would be exposed to because of the RFEF selecting them - Spanish media reports say players could lose their licenses to play for multiple years if they do not obey the call-up.