Spain players end boycott after seven-hour showdown talks with Football Federation

Jenni Hermoso is not part of the the first squad named since the Women’s World Cup

Lawrence Ostlere,Karl Matchett
Wednesday 20 September 2023 13:18 BST
Spain players agree to end boycott

Spain players have ended their boycott of the women’s national team after showdown talks with the Spanish Football Federation (Rfef) which lasted more than seven hours.

The squad was named at the start of the week with several World Cup winners included, despite the fact they had publicly stated their intention to not represent the national team following the sexism row which erupted following Luis Rubiales kissing Jenni Hermoso after the final.

That fallout of that moment, which outrageously overshadowed Spain triumphing on the biggest stage of all, included the team’s head coach Jorge Vilda losing his job and Rubiales being suspended from his duties by Fifa, though he refused to resign his post initially before succumbing to pressure and exiting.

But the issues within Spanish football have not stopped there, with players called up for action after saying they would not make themselves available - though it now appears they have reached an agreement with their FA.

“The players have expressed their concern about the need for profound changes in the Rfef (Spanish Football Federation), which has committed to making these changes immediately,” said Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD) president, Victor Francos.

“It is the beginning of a long road ahead of us,” Futpro - the players’ union - president Amanda Gutierrez said. “Once again, they [the players] have shown themselves to be coherent, and the vast majority have decided to stay for the sake of this agreement.”

A joint commission is to be set up to oversee changes and “follow up on agreements” from the meeting, though it was not confirmed what those agreements were.

The now-former Rfef president continued to insist his kiss with Hermoso, one of the team’s forwards, was consensual - but Hermoso rejected that notion and filed a complaint against Rubiales with the state prosecutor, with an investigation for sexual assault now underway. He has also been handed a restraining order, preventing him from being in close proximity to the World Cup winner.

Hermoso was not called up to the latest Spain squad, with new head coach Montse Tome saying the national team wanted to “protect” the 33-year-old. Hermoso responded with a question of “from what?” to that claim, saying that the national team call-ups for players who had made themselves unavailable only proved that “nothing had changed” despite Rubiales’ forced exit.

Spain face Sweden and Switzerland in the Nations League across the next week or so, with the competition also serving the purpose of qualifiers for the Paris Olympics next year.

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