- Women’s World Cup Champions End Boycott
- Commitment to Reform in Spain’s Football Federation
- Controversy Over Kiss Leads to Resignation and Ongoing Concerns
The boycott resulted from a controversy involving the now-former head of Spain’s football association, Luis Rubiales, kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup presentation ceremony.
The women’s team that won the World Cup for Spain has agreed to halt their boycott of the national team.
It follows the country’s football federation’s (RFEF) announcement that it would make “immediate and profound changes” to its structure.
The athletes stated that they would not represent Spain until the federation was reformed.
It followed a dispute over the now-former RFEF president, Luis Rubiales, kissing footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the presentation ceremony for the Women’s World Cup.
The announcement was made following a seven-hour meeting between the players, representatives from the RFEF and Spain’s National Sports Council (CSD), and representatives from the players’ union FUTPRO.
“The players have voiced their concern over the need for significant changes within the RFEF, which has pledged to implement these changes immediately,” stated CSD president Victor Francos.
He announced a combined commission of all stakeholders to “follow up on the agreements” made at the meeting.
However, the agreements were not made public after the meeting. Mr. Francos pledged they would be “soon” announced.
FUTPRO president Amanda Gutierrez told reporters, “This is only the beginning of a long road ahead.”
“Once again, they [the players] have demonstrated coherence, and the vast majority of them have chosen to remain for the sake of this agreement.”
Following a revolt by several senior players against their treatment by now-former manager Jorge Vilda, Spain entered the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with a team.
Despite the controversy, Spain won the tournament in August, defeating England 1-0 in the Sydney final.
However, their triumph was almost immediately overshadowed by Rubiales grabbing and kissing Spain’s Hermoso during the award presentation.
Rubiales said the kiss was “mutual and with Hermoso’s consent” and that “false feminists” witch-hunted him.
Hermoso said, “I did not like it, but what could I do?” in an Instagram video during celebrations.
In a FUTPRO statement, she called herself “vulnerable” and “the victim of an attack.”
Rubiales was compelled to resign earlier this month after initially remaining defiant and refusing to resign.
A restraining order was also issued against him after Hermoso filed a complaint alleging sexual assault and coercion.
However, twenty-one of the twenty-three Spanish players who participated in the tournament, including Hermoso, stated that his resignation was insufficient to prompt their return to national team duty.
They demanded additional RFEF reforms before their return.
When the delayed squad for Spain’s impending Women’s Nations League games was announced. The players were still summoned by new coach Montse Tome to play for the national team.
Tome, Vilda’s assistant, said the federation intentionally left Hermoso off the roster list posted on Monday to “protect” her.
She accused the RFEF of attempting to manipulate and divide the participants.
The players stated in a joint statement that they would make the “best decision” for their future and health. Despite the risk of €30,000 fines and a 15-year federation licence suspension for not reporting.
On Tuesday, all the players reported for training, but two decided to depart for “personal reasons.”
Spain will make their Women’s Nations League début against Sweden in Gothenburg on Friday, followed by a match against Switzerland in Cordoba on September 26.
The Nations League will determine which European nations qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.