The players argued that the federation cannot require their presence under these circumstances.

The controversy erupted when Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during Spain's World Cup victory celebrations. 

Hermoso disputed Rubiales's insistence that the kiss was consensual, sparking a nationwide debate about macho culture in sports. Eventually, Rubiales resigned from his position.

Hermoso was conspicuously absent from the squad list announced by the new coach, Montse Tome, on Monday. 

The squad includes 15 of the 23 World Cup-winning players, along with two others, Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, who were not initially called up for the World Cup finals after signing an open letter against then-coach Jorge Vilda.

Players' Reaction and Possible Consequences

The players expressed their regret that the federation had placed them in this situation and issued a statement in the name of Spain's top women's team players. 

However, the statement lacked signatures and was not shared by all players on social media. Prominent players like Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmati were among those who shared it.

According to a source close to three players, they were surprised by the call-up. If the players refuse to answer the call, they could face sanctions, including fines of up to 30,000 euros ($32,000) and the suspension of their federation license for two to 15 years, as per Spain's Sports Act.

Government's Stance and Coach's Perspective

Victor Francos, the head of Spain's government national sports agency, stated that if the players do not show up, the government must apply the law. Coach Montse Tome, who served as Vilda's assistant for five years, mentioned that none of the players had formally asked not to be selected. 

However, she declined to reveal the specifics of her conversations with the players. Tome expressed her confidence in the players' professionalism and expected their full commitment to the team.

Continued Uncertainty

This development follows a statement from a group of 39 players, including 21 from the World Cup-winning squad, who demanded further changes within the football federation beyond Rubiales's resignation and Vilda's replacement. 

As Spain prepares to debut in the UEFA Nations League, which will determine European teams' qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the situation remains tense and uncertain.

Tome explained that Jenni Hermoso's omission from the squad was due to the intense media attention she had received in the past month. She emphasized the team's solidarity with Hermoso and their commitment to supporting her.

The RFEF acknowledged the need for "structural changes" and the necessity to clarify responsibility for the players' concerns, indicating that the issue remains unresolved and requires further attention.

Source: Reuters