Jenni Hermoso has accused the Spanish football federation of employing “intimidation” tactics and making “threats” in response to the governing body’s decision to call up several players who had previously declined national team duty.
Despite Spain’s triumphant Women’s World Cup victory, the 33-year-old striker found herself excluded from the squad’s latest selection. This exclusion raised eyebrows, especially as 15 of her World Cup-winning teammates were included in the 23-player roster announced on Monday, despite their prior announcement of a boycott.
Montse Tome, the new head coach of Spain, explained during a press conference that Jenni Hermoso’s omission from the squad was done with her well-being in mind. However, a new development emerged on Monday evening when the players collectively issued a statement rejecting their call-ups.
Jenni Hermoso, in response, took to social media to release a separate statement. In her statement, she asserted that the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) had resorted to tactics of intimidation and had made threats. She also conveyed her belief that nothing had changed within the RFEF since the departure of Rubiales from his position last week.
She said: “We have spent weeks, months, searching for protection from inside the RFEF that never came.
“The same people who ask us to trust them are those who today announced a squad with players who asked NOT to be called up.
“The players are certain that this is yet another strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussions and economic sanctions.
“It is more irrefutable proof that shows even today, that nothing has changed.
“I would like to make something very clear — a claim was made today stating the environment within the federation would be safe for my team-mates to rejoin, yet at the same press conference it was announced that they were not calling me as a means to protect me.
“Protect me from what? And from whom?
“I want to once again show my full support to my colleagues who have been caught by surprise and forced to react to another unfortunate situation caused by the people who continue to make decisions within the RFEF.
“This is why we are fighting and why we are doing it this way.”
The controversy is further fueled by an incident involving RFEF president Luis Rubiales, who kissed Hermoso on the lips during the players’ celebration of their World Cup final victory against England on August 20.
Hermoso maintains that she did not give consent for the kiss.