The 23 members of Spain’s triumphant Women’s World Cup-winning squad have informed the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) of their continued refusal to play for the team. The 23 World Cup champions, along with an additional 12 players who previously declined to play while Jorge Vilda was the team coach, have made this collective decision. This comes despite Vilda’s recent dismissal and the subsequent appointment of his former assistant, Montse Tome.
This development also follows mere days after Luis Rubiales announced his resignation as RFEF President. His decision came in the aftermath of a controversy where he was seen kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the celebrations of Spain’s 1-0 World Cup final victory over England in August, reports Xinhua.
In response to that incident, the 23 World Cup victors, along with other female players, signed a communique. They asserted they would not represent Spain as long as Rubiales remained with the RFEF.
Even with Vilda and Rubiales’ departures, it seems the players are advocating for more profound structural changes in how the RFEF manages the women’s team.
Tome is set to announce her inaugural squad this Friday, as Spain prepares to face Sweden on September 22 and Switzerland just four days later.
Meanwhile, appearing in court for the first time, Rubiales denied sexually assaulting Hermoso by kissing her on the lips after Spain’s Women’s World Cup win. Rubiales has maintained that when he held her head in his hands and kissed her on the lips it was mutual and consensual.