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Will the world champions return to the national team?

Photo: Jose Breton / NurPhoto / IMAGO

Spain's new national football coach Montse Tomé has named 15 world champions in the squad for the upcoming Nations League – although almost all of them want to boycott the upcoming international matches. This was announced by Tomé, successor to the dismissed Jorge Vilda, on Monday at her presentation. Whether the nominated players have given their commitment remained unclear at first.

Among the world champions are two-time World Player of the Year Alexia Putellas, Aitana Bonmati and Olga Carmona, but not Jenni Hermoso. The 33-year-old was kissed on the mouth after the World Cup final in Sydney at the award ceremony by the now resigned Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales without her consent. The incident triggered a wave of international outrage.

Women's footballers' demands not met

On Friday, a group of 39 players, including 21 world champions, said they wanted further changes in the country's football association. The resignation of the head of the association, Luis Rubiales, and the replacement of coach Vilda were not enough for them to return to the team.

Incidents such as the kiss of association president Luis Rubiales are "not selective and go beyond the sport," the statement said. The players are calling for "fundamental changes to arrive at a structure that neither tolerates nor is part of such humiliations".

Among other things, they also demanded the dismissal of RFEF interim president Pedro Rocha and other officials close to Rubiales. As far as is known, this demand was not met by Monday.

Tomé keeps a low profile when asked about strike

However, the RFEF published a communiqué on Monday stating: "We guarantee a safe environment for the players and are committed to a climate of mutual trust in order to jointly ensure that women's football develops even more strongly in the future."

A statement from the players was not initially available. "I spoke to them," Tomé replied when asked if she had sought dialogue with the players concerned before being nominated. But this remains "between us," Tomé said.

Regarding the reasons for not nominating Hermoso, Tomé said that they wanted to "protect" her in this way.

Spain will face Sweden in the Nations League on Friday and Switzerland on Tuesday next week. In the Nations League, the two European starting places for the 2024 Summer Olympics are at stake, and world champions Spain must also qualify.

Rubiales had resigned just over a week ago under great pressure. On Friday, he was sentenced to stay away from Hermoso in the future. The 46-year-old is only allowed to approach the national soccer player up to 200 meters, an investigating judge decided. The former president of the association had to answer for the allegation of sexual violence in court.