The Spanish football federation is trying to divide and manipulate its women players while intimidating and threatening them with “legal repercussions and economic sanctions”, Jenni Hermoso has claimed.
The attacking midfielder, who was subjected to an unwanted kiss from former federation president Luis Rubiales after the team won the World Cup, has also questioned why she has not been called up for forthcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland.
“It was announced that they were not calling me as a means to protect me,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Protect me from what? And from whom?”
In addition Hermoso, 33, has accused the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) of threatening players with “legal repercussions and economic sanctions” despite claiming it was fostering a safe environment.
It shows “nothing has changed”, she added, alleging a “strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussions and economic sanctions”.
The team has been calling for wide-ranging reforms and new leadership after Rubiales initially refused to resign before eventually quitting on 10 September.
Last Friday, 21 of the 23 Spanish players involved in the World Cup – including Hermoso – said his resignation was not enough and they would refuse to play for the national team.
They are demanding changes within the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
In a statement, Hermoso said: “Let’s be clear: a claim was made today stating that the environment within the federation would be safe for my colleagues to rejoin, yet at the same press conference it was announced that they were not calling me as a means to protect me.
“Protect me from what? And from whom?”
She and her fellow players have been searching for “weeks – months, even” for “protection from the REF that never came”, she added.
“The people who now ask us to trust them are the same ones who today disclosed the list of players who have asked NOT to be called up.
“The players are certain that this is yet another strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussions and economic sanctions.
“It is yet more irrefutable proof that shows that even today, nothing has changed.”
The RFEF did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
However, it said earlier on Monday that it was convinced of the need for “structural changes” and needed to clarify who was responsible for the behaviour players had brought to light.
World Cup winners do not feel heard
This does not look like the “climate of mutual trust”, the Spanish federation pledged to create with their players at the start of the day.
They were still summoned – against their wishes – to play for the national team when the delayed squad announcement came.
Refusing to play against Sweden on Friday could see the players fined €30,000 or banned under Spain’s sports law.
Are the concerns of the World Cup winners really being taken seriously?
Concerns that were apparent long before the grab and kiss by Luis Rubiales which Jenni Hermoso says she did not consent to on the World Cup final podium.
Concerns that saw a dozen of the players who quit international duty a year ago refuse to go to the tournament.
Rubiales did finally quit. National team coach Jorge Vilda has been dismissed. But his former assistant, Montse Tome, is now in temporary charge.
The cleanout the players want is yet to happen.
That is why they made clear on Friday that they did not feel safe playing for their country without sweeping changes.
It was the latest statement withdrawing their services for a country that has let them down.
And still, players who should be celebrating a career high do not feel listened to.
Luis Rubiales given restraining order
Spain’s women footballers call off strike
Montse Tome, the new head coach, said she had talked to Hermoso, 33, and decided not to include her in order to “protect her”.
On Monday Tome said she had spoken to all the World Cup-winning players who she picked and expected them to report to training camp on Tuesday.
She said no player had asked not to be called up.