Spain’s World Cup-winning women’s squad to end team boycott after kiss row


Spain’s World Cup winning women’s squad has agreed to end their boycott of the national team.

It comes after the country’s football federation (RFEF) said it would make “immediate and profound changes” to its structure.

The players had said they would not represent Spain until there were changes at the federation.

It followed a row over the now former RFEF boss, Luis Rubiales, kissing footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the Women’s World Cup presentation ceremony.

The announcement was made after a meeting lasting more than seven hours between the players, officials from the RFEF and Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD), and members from the players’ union FUTPRO.

“The players have expressed their concern about the need for profound changes in the RFEF, which has committed to making these changes immediately,” said CSD president Victor Francos.

He said a joint commission would be created involving members from all parties to “follow up on the agreements” set out in the meeting.

Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso is kissed by then president of the RFEF Luis Rubiales during the World Cup presentation ceremony

However, the agreements were not revealed following the meeting. Mr Francos promised they would be announced “soon”.

“It is the beginning of a long road ahead of us,” FUTPRO president Amanda Gutierrez told reporters.

“Once again, they [the players] have shown themselves to be coherent, and the vast majority have decided to stay for the sake of this agreement.”

Spain’s side went into the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand following a revolt by several senior players against their treatment by now former manager, Jorge Vilda.

Despite the row, a much-changed Spain’s side won the tournament in August, beating England 1-0 in the final in Sydney.

But their victory was almost immediately overshadowed by Rubiales grabbing and kissing Spain star Hermoso on the lips during the presentation ceremony.

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Rubiales claimed the kiss was “mutual and with the consent” of Hermoso and said that he was the victim of a witch hunt by “false feminists.”

Hermoso initially responded in an Instagram video during celebrations after the incident, and said: “I did not like it, but what could I do?”

Later, in a statement released by players’ union FUTPRO, she said she was “vulnerable” and “the victim of an aggression”.

Read more:
Luis Rubiales and Jenni Hermoso: Who said what in World Cup kiss row
How the Women’s World Cup final kiss row turned into Spain’s #MeToo moment

After initially remaining defiant and refusing to quit, Rubiales was forced to resign earlier this month.

He was also made the subject of a restraining order, after Hermoso filed a complaint for alleged sexual assault and coercion.

However, 21 of the 23 Spanish players involved in the tournament – including Hermoso – said his resignation was not enough to trigger their return to national team duty.

Luis Rubiales

They demanded further change in the RFEF before they returned.

However, 20 of the players were still summoned to play for the national team by new coach Montse Tome when the delayed squad for Spain’s upcoming Women’s Nations League games was announced.

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Spain men’s coach ‘sorry’ after criticism over association’s handling of kiss row

Hermoso was not in the squad list announced on Monday, with Tome – the assistant of former Spain boss Vilda – saying the federation was trying to “protect her”.

She accused the RFEF of trying to divide and manipulate the players.

The players said in a joint statement they would take the “best decision” for their future and health – despite the risk of fines of up to €30,000 and the suspension of their federation licence for up to 15 years for refusing a call-up.

Jennifer Hermoso

All the players reported for training on Tuesday, though two decided to leave the squad for “personal reasons”.

Spain are set to make their debut in the Women’s Nations League against Sweden in Gothenburg on Friday, before playing against Switzerland in Cordoba on 26 September.

The Nations League will determine which teams from Europe qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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