Several Spanish international footballers, most of them on strike since the Rubiales affair, showed up on Tuesday at their selection's rally even though they had affirmed the day before that they did not wish to play again with La Roja.
At midday, six players, including Real Madrid defender Olga Carmona, who scored the winning goal in the World Cup final on August 20 against England, joined their coach and her staff in a hotel near Madrid airport, noted an AFP journalist. They then flew to Oliva, near Valencia, where La Roja must prepare for their trip to Sweden on Friday in the Nations League. Five of them were signatories to the press release published Friday, in which 39 players, including 21 of the 23 world champions, announced that the conditions were not met for them to play again with Spain.
They demand profound structural changes within the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), considering the resignation of its president Luis Rubiales following his forced kiss imposed on Jenni Hermoso, and the dismissal of coach Jorge Vilda, whose methods they criticized, to be insufficient. . Asked by a journalist if she was "happy" to be on the team, goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez replied "no", confirming the fact that the strikers were returning against their will, due to the potential sanctions they would face. risk. Same response for Alexia Putellas, who joined her teammates from Barcelona airport, when a journalist asked her how the players were feeling. “Well, bad” whispered the Catalan.
“If the players do not show up, the government must apply the law,” warned the president of the Superior Sports Council (CSD) Victor Francos on Cadena Ser radio. Spain's 2022 sports law states that failing to attend national team call-ups constitutes a "very serious" offense. Potential fines range from 3,000 to 30,000 euros, and players can even lose their license for up to five years. Victor Francos, also Secretary of State for Sports, must now meet with the players to try to get out of the crisis, sources close to the CSD confirmed to AFP. “Come and we commit to making what you ask for possible,” Mr. Francos later told Spanish public television, adding that “if a player does not feel comfortable ... the next thing "more normal is that she is not summoned and that another is", excluding the possibility of a sanction.
Upon arrival at the hotel, coach Montse Tomé assured that the 20 players on strike would accept their summons. She created a surprise on Monday by announcing a list of fifteen world champions and other players, who had asked not to be selected pending a total overhaul of the Federation, but not Jenni Hermoso. On the account .
Dismissed by Tomé “to protect her”, Hermoso accused the Spanish federation of “intimidating and threatening” the world champions. Reacting to the coach's words, N.10 asked: “Protect me from what, or who?” “Protect her from what? if all goes well…” quipped Putellas before his flight to Valencia. “The RFEF does not have the right to deprive Spain of its women's national team, especially after winning a World Cup,” Spanish Minister of Culture and Sports Miquel Iceta said on Tuesday, demanding that the Spanish Federation to be “a place of security, competitiveness and professionalism.”
In addition to government support, the world champions received that of their future opponents. “If they feel that they have to boycott for something to happen, it is clear that we support them,” assured Swedish international Filippa Angeldahl. Goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl wrote on Spain must face Sweden on Friday and Switzerland on September 26 in the League of Nations, a qualifying tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, without it being known yet whether the world champions will be present on the field.