Soccer player Jenni Hermoso has been recalled to play for Spain, after being omitted by Coach Montse Tomé in the months following her pressing charges against former federation president Luis Rubiales.
Tomé had stated she omitted Hermoso to “protect her,” to which Hermoso publicly asked what she needed protection from.
“I explained [to Hermoso] at the time why she was not called up last time and after that camp we got in contact with her,” Tomé said at a news conference Wednesday. “Maybe it created speculation, but there has been no problem with her at any moment. I took the decision to protect her as I thought it was the best thing for her at that moment.”
Spanish women’s soccer has been enveloped in a storm of controversy since the end of the World Cup finals, with Rubiales resigning after being charged with sexual assault and coercion by Spanish state prosecutors, and coach Jorge Vilda losing his job for his involvement in the scandal.
In parallel with this, more than half of the national team requested not to play as part of a strike against Spanish soccer federation RFEF. When many were called to play against their will, the Spanish government was forced to intervene and mediate, getting the federation to commit to changes requested by players – including the replacement of several senior officials in the federation, and implementation of a joint committee partly chaired by the players to oversee the changes.
Despite these events, the Spanish national team went on to win against Sweden and Switzerland in post-World Cup matches, qualifying them for the Paris 2024 Olympics.