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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Jennifer Hermoso Omitted from Spain’s Game Squad

On Monday, Spain announced its lineup for the national women’s team’s first two matches since the team’s World Cup victory and the postgame kiss that sent women’s soccer into chaos.

Many of the players who have been selected to play for Spain have made it plain in recent weeks that they are not prepared to do so until the football federation’s administration is changed. However, three injured players and one retired player were among the eight World Cup champions left off of Monday’s squad, as was Jennifer Hermoso, the star player who was forcefully kissed by the guy who was then Spain’s top soccer official.

After being kissed by former football boss Luis Rubiales during the World Cup awards presentation in Sydney, Australia, Ms Hermoso filed a criminal charge of sexual assault against him earlier this month.

In the middle of a high-stakes conflict between Spain’s top players and the national football organisation, Ms. Tomé made the choice to cut Ms. Hermoso.

Players on Ms. Tomé’s roster on Monday are the same ones who, in August, after the team won the World Cup, demanded changes to management and threatened to not play until they were implemented.

This past Friday, Ms. Hermoso and 20 of the 23 members of the winning team signed a joint statement with other Spanish players saying “it is time to fight” and restating their demands for a restructuring of “the leadership positions of the Royal Spanish Football Federation” to guarantee a “safe place where women are respected.” However, they never said they would flat-out refuse to play.

Even though their requests had not been satisfied as of Monday night, it was still unclear whether or not all of Ms. Tomé’s team would consent to participate in the next matches (against Sweden and Switzerland) scheduled to begin on Friday.

The National Sports Council has warned of potential penalties or suspensions for those who choose to skip games.

The federation has been trying to appease its top players for the last month, and they have seen some progress. They insisted that Mr. Rubiales step down, and he complied. On Friday, he made an appearance in court related to sexual assault charges brought by Ms. Hermoso. After that, he got a restraining order that forbade him to have any contact with Ms. Hermoso. The national team’s coach, Jorge Vilda, was let go earlier this month. Teammates had complained about his dictatorial and misogynistic behaviour the year before.

In a statement released on Monday morning, the federation promised to provide a “safe environment for the players” and to implement reforms across the league. However, it did not provide specifics about the changes it plans to implement or a timeline for doing so.

Although Ms. Tomé has succeeded Mr. Vilda as the leader of Spain, her selection has not been without criticism. On August 25, Ms. Tomé was criticised for her role in a standing ovation for Mr. Rubiales, who had just given a forceful speech in which he blamed Ms. Hermoso for starting the kiss and raged against “false feminism.”

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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