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(Photo courtesy of John Cowpland | AP)

Spain WWC victors accuse soccer federation of trying to intimidate players

In a new episode in Spain’s women’s soccer turmoil, World Cup-winning players reported to training camp Tuesday, despite their request not to play until their demands for reform in the soccer federation are met.

While the players issued a statement Monday that they had no plans to end their boycott and were surprised by the call-up, Spanish sports law requires that players answer the call of national teams unless impeded by something such as an injury – if they do not, they risk fines or even a ban from playing for their clubs, if the federal sports council decides it.

New coach Montse Tomé’s decision to ignore the players’ request has prompted the Spanish government to step in and mediate the situation.

Secretary for Sports Víctor Francos told Spanish television channel La Sexta the federation’s behavior was “unacceptable,” and that he would be backing the wishes of the players, who he described as sounding “exhausted.”

Jenni Hermoso accused the federation of attempting to intimidate players by picking them for the national team despite their requests, saying it showed that “nothing has changed,” despite the federation’s claims of commitment to reform.

Tomé reportedly left Hermoso off the list “as a way to protect her,” according to Hermoso.

“A claim was made 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,” Hermoso said.

“The people who now ask us to trust them are the same ones who 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.”


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