Spanish World Cup-winning squad boycotts upcoming Women’s Nations League matches following unwanted kiss scandal
The aftermath of a disturbing incident involving former Spanish soccer boss Luis Rubiales and star player Jennifer Hermoso has caused a major rift within Spain’s World Cup-winning squad. The majority of the players have made the decision to refuse call-ups for the country’s upcoming Women’s Nations League matches in protest of the incident and to demand “real structural changes” in Spanish soccer.
The incident, which saw Rubiales kiss Hermoso against her will, has overshadowed the team’s historic victory in the World Cup. In response, 39 players, including 21 members of the World Cup squad, jointly signed a letter condemning the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and calling for changes within the federation and its women’s football organization. The players are demanding restructuring of various departments to ensure a more respectful and supportive environment for women’s soccer.
The players’ decision has garnered support from various quarters. World players’ union FIFPRO has voiced its backing for the players’ stand, highlighting the need for fair treatment and respect. Additionally, Spanish basketball legend Pau Gasol has expressed his support for the players’ cause.
This recent development follows a previous letter of support for Hermoso from over 80 Spanish soccer players, highlighting the deep-rooted dissatisfaction within the sport. The interim RFEF president Pedro Rocha has initiated steps to make the structural changes demanded by the players, signaling a possible shift towards a more inclusive and equitable future for Spanish soccer.
However, the players’ decision to boycott upcoming matches will pose a challenge for the newly appointed deputy coach, who will now have to assemble a competitive team to represent Spain. The absence of the majority of the World Cup-winning squad will undoubtedly impact the team’s performance on the field.
The incident involving Rubiales has taken a legal turn, with the former soccer boss testifying in Spain’s National Court in Madrid in relation to potential charges of sexual assault and coercion. Under public pressure, Rubiales resigned from his position and has been handed a restraining order.
The dissatisfaction within the Spanish squad stretches back to September of last year when 15 players announced that they would no longer play for the national team unless changes were made to the coaching staff. Despite the off-field struggles, the Spanish team managed to achieve a remarkable victory in the World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.
While the departures of Rubiales and former head coach Jorge Vilda may be seen as progress, the challenges facing Spanish women’s soccer are far from over. Tensions and animosity within the squad continue to linger, highlighting the need for further reforms in order to create a healthier and more supportive environment for the players.
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