(Madrid) Some players from Spain’s World Cup champion team arrived at training camp on Tuesday, despite indicating they do not want to be selected to represent their country as they struggle for changes to be made within the soccer federation.
A local media broadcast images showing some players arriving at the team hotel in Madrid, the day after the arrival of new head coach Montse Tomé. This therefore ignored the demands of the players, who indicated that they would not play as long as the Spanish federation did not comply with their requests.
The players said in a statement Monday that they learned to their surprise that they had been selected, and added that they did not plan to end their boycott operation. However, those who refuse to appear risk breaking a Spanish sports law which stipulates that any athlete chosen by their national team must report unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as injury.
This is the latest crisis to shake Spanish soccer, after the former president of the federation Luis Rubiales kissed the player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent after Spain’s victory in the World Cup final. women’s soccer world last month.
Hermoso also accused the federation of having tried to intimidate the players selected by the national team, even if they had previously asked not to be chosen.
She mentioned in a press release published early Tuesday that the federation’s decision to select almost half of the 39 players who had indicated their intention to no longer represent their country on the international scene to denounce the situation is “irrefutable proof” that “nothing has changed”.
The players were very clear in their approach: they would not return to the national team until significant changes were adopted and new leaders were appointed. Tomé nevertheless selected 15 players who contributed to Spain’s first Women’s Soccer World Cup victory last month.
Tomé added that she intentionally left Hermoso off her list “in order to protect her,” she claimed.
“Protect me from what?” asked Hermoso. It was indicated that the environment within the federation would be safe so as to allow my colleagues to return there, and during the same press conference it was announced that I had been voluntarily kept away in order to to protect me. »
Tomé said she spoke with Hermoso and the other players, and added that she was hopeful to see all of her players report to camp on Tuesday.
Spanish Culture and Sport Minister Miquel Iceta said Tuesday that the government will try to get involved to resolve the impasse.
“We ask the federation to remedy the issues of this unusual summons and to modify its organization so that it becomes the safe, efficient and professional space to which the players and all Spaniards are entitled,” Iceta told local media. What you cannot do is continue to commit injustices and harm players who gave their best and brought the first Women’s Soccer World Cup in the history of Spain . »
The government stressed that it was talking with the players, and the president of the Spanish Sports Council – the government organization that oversees sport in that country – mentioned that he was due to meet them later on Tuesday.