29th May 2024
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For first time since World Cup kiss scandal, Hermoso returns to Spain squad

The Women’s World Cup-winning player, Jenni Hermoso, who was forcibly kissed on the lips by Luis Rubialesthe former president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), has been called up again by the national team for this month’s UEFA Women’s Nations League games against Italy and Switzerland.

Hermoso was included in coach Montse Tomé’s squad for the next two matches. She had previously been omitted from the first squad after the World Cup to protect her amid the controversy ignited by Rubiales’ kiss at the awards ceremony, after Spain had lifted the trophy in Australia in August. 

‘At the time we believed that was the best option for her and for us,’ Tomé said. ‘Now things have improved. She has played more often. It’s the right moment.’ ALSO READ: ‘Protect me from what?’ asks Hermoso, as striking players arrive reluctantly for training.

Hermoso has said the kiss was without her consent and Spanish state prosecutors later accused Rubiales of sexual assault and coercion. They alleged that Rubiales tried to convince Hermoso and her relatives to publicly downplay the kiss. ALSO READ: Rubiales denies any wrongdoing, but is banned from going within 200 metres of Hermoso.

Hermoso and other Spain players have testified as witnesses in the probe into Rubiales’ actions.

Rubiales eventually resigned and the players ended their boycott of the national team after being given guarantees of change within the federation following the intervention of government officials. ALSO READ: Spanish Football Federation confirms resignation of Luis Rubiales.

Tomé named the World Cup-winning players in her first squad, even though they had asked not to play until their demands for change were accepted. Some federation officials have since been fired and a joint committee involving players has been created.

The 33-year-old Hermoso, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, criticised the federation for calling up the World Cup-winning players to the first squad against their wishes. Not responding to a call-up can expose players to a fine or ban.

Patri Guijarro and Mapi León, who decided to leave the squad after being called up the last time, were not in Tomé’s list on Wednesday.

Spain won 3-2 at Sweden and 5-0 against Switzerland in its first two matches after the World Cup. They now play Italy on Friday 27 October and Switzerland again on Tuesday 31 October.

ALSO READ: Spain and Sweden women’s footballers stage joint ‘It’s Over’ protest.

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