Jenni Hermoso has been left out of Spain’s squad for Nations League fixtures against Sweden and Switzerland.
Ever since they won the World Cup last month, it has been a tumultuous and dramatic period for Spanish football after disgraced former president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips in the aftermath of their final victory over England.
He eventually resigned from his position, although he is battling charges of sexual assault and coercion, while controversial former manager Jorge Vilda was sacked from his position.
There was more drama last week when 39 players signed a statement insisting they will make themselves unavailable for selection until changes are made in the structure of the national team and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This came after total of 81 players had signed a letter last month stating that they would reject the call-up until there was a change in leadership at the Spanish FA.
However, new boss Montse Tome has named her squad for the international break and included 15 of the World Cup winners, but not Hermoso.
The Spanish FA has called up 15 of their World Cup-winning squad – but not Jenni Hermoso
Speaking after her squad was announced, Tome said: ‘We are with Jenni and with all the players. As for Jenni, we felt the best way to protect her in this squad was in this way.’
Tome also hinted at a breakthrough with her furious players after announcing her squad when reflecting on the surprising selection of the 15 players.
She added: ‘We have experienced a special situation and we have experienced something exceptional.
‘The Federation has worked to talk to them and work with them and we are very excited about the path now in the Nations League.’
Tome had been set to announce her squad on Friday before the players released the aforementioned statement which read: ‘The changes made are not enough for the players to feel safe, where women are respected, where there is support for women’s football and where we can maximise our potential.
‘The players of the Spanish team have, at all times, been open to dialogue, seeking to convey clear and well-argued reasons that we believe are necessary to be able to carry out our work at the highest level with the respect we deserve.
‘The specified changes to the RFEF are based on zero tolerance for those people who, from a position within the RFEF, have had, incited, hidden or applauded attitudes that go against the dignity of women.
‘We firmly believe that strong changes are required in leadership positions in the RFEF and specifically, in the area of women’s football.
‘We want to end this statement by expressing that the players of the Spanish team are professionals, and what fills us most with pride is wearing the shirt of our national team and leading our country to the highest positions.’
‘We believe that it is time to fight to show that these situations and practices have no place in football or society, that the current structure needs changes and we do it so that the next generations can have equality in football and at the level that we all deserve.’
The selection of 15 World Cup winners in the squad comes after Marca reported on Monday how the RFEF had launched a public and written commitment to renewal and change in the national team.
The report stated this was a last ditch attempt to get some stars to reverse their decisions.
Tome’s comments in her press conference suggest this attempt was successful in some quarters with the RFEF guaranteeing ‘a safe environment and the commitment to a climate of mutual trust’.
The full statement read: ‘ The RFEF wants to convey to the national team’s internationals the public commitment acquired by the new management of the institution that directs football in Spain. The objective is to express clearly and without internal or external interpretations, the strategic axes in this new stage of the Federation, which both football and society demand.
‘The Federation itself is aware of the need to make structural changes, as the president of the Management Commission, Pedro Rocha, has already announced and has recently begun to materialize. This conviction has led to difficult decisions being made in recent days, which will continue to be adopted, given that there is the conviction that a renewal is necessary.
‘In this sense, it is absolutely essential to carry out these changes, clarify each of the behaviors and conduct that may have occurred, and act, therefore, with professionalism and justice, settling the relevant responsibilities in each case.’
It continued: ‘It is evident that the Federation, society and the players themselves are aligned on the same objective: renewal and the beginning of a new stage where football is the great beneficiary of this entire process. For this reason, players are urged to join this change led by the Federation, understanding that the transformations that must continue must be solid and fair.
We guarantee a safe environment for the players and we are committed to a climate of mutual trust so that we can work together and ensure that women’s football continues to progress much more strongly. ‘We must begin to show off the star that the internationals have achieved with so much effort.’
In the original 39 that signed Friday’s letter insisting they wouldn’t play for Spain until changes were made, the 23 stars from the World Cup campaign were reportedly joined by 12 of the famous ‘Las 15’.
They chose to self-exile themselves from an international call up last year after they wrote to the Spanish FA claiming they would not be available for selection while Vilda remained in his position.
But the RFEF issued a strongly-worded statement in response, stating that the selected players had committed a ‘very serious infraction’ by refusing to play for the country.
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Source of data and images: dailymail