LAGOS, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) –Jenni Hermoso, a prominent figure in Spanish football, has condemned the alleged “manipulation” tactics employed by the RFEF (Royal Spanish Football Federation) and questioned the rationale behind her exclusion from the national team.
The World Cup champion, who recently basked in the glory of Spain’s global triumph in Australia, is one of several players who have voluntarily withdrawn from consideration for the Spanish national team.
This decision followed an incident in which former RFEF president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso during the medal ceremony that followed Spain’s 1-0 victory over England in a FIFA showcase match in Sydney.
As many as 81 players, including all 23 members of the triumphant 2023 World Cup squad, declared their unwillingness to represent the national team as long as Rubiales retained his position.
Despite Rubiales eventually stepping down from his role, the unrest within the team continues as calls for comprehensive reforms persist.
Montse Tome, the new head coach who replaced Jorge Vilda, has included 15 of the previously unavailable players in her squad for an upcoming match against Sweden in the UEFA Nations League.
Notably, Jenni Hermoso, now playing for Mexican club side Pachuca, is not among those selected.
Tome, while addressing the media, stated, “We stand with Jenni… we believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni.”
In response to these comments, Hermoso took to social media, expressing surprise among players about their sudden inclusion and attributing this situation to decisions made within the RFEF.
Regarding the notion of protection, Hermoso questioned, “Protect me from what? And from whom?”
In a fervent statement, the 33-year-old athlete accused the RFEF of employing a divisive and manipulative strategy aimed at intimidating and threatening the players with legal consequences and financial sanctions.
She emphasized that this situation serves as indisputable evidence that, even in the present day, nothing substantial has changed within the organization.
The players who have chosen not to participate in national team duties face potential fines of up to €30,000 and suspension of their federation license for a period ranging from two to 15 years, as stipulated by Spain’s Sports Act.
Victor Francos, the head of Spain’s government national sports agency, asserted that the government would enforce the law if the athletes did not comply.