In the wake of a highly publicised non-consensual kiss incident involving former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales and renowned player Jenni Hermoso, the newly appointed coach of the Spanish national women’s squad, Montse Tome, has made her first significant decision by excluding Hermoso from the team, citing her intention to “protect her.”
The controversy emerged after Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso during a medal ceremony following Spain’s victory over England in Sydney on August 20. Rubiales faced global backlash, but instead of resigning, he vehemently defended himself against accusations of false feminism.
Subsequently, 39 players, including most of the World Cup-winning squad, went on strike, demanding substantial changes within the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This upheaval led to the dismissal of coach Jorge Vilda and a chain reaction of resignations within the coaching staff.
Montse Tome, the new coach, has now named a squad for upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland. Surprisingly, 15 players from the World Cup-winning team were selected, despite ongoing strikes and protests.
Tome expressed her trust in the players’ professionalism and insisted that they would return to the national team. However, Swiss forward Ana Crnogorcevic criticised this move, deeming it disrespectful to players who had demanded changes before returning to the team.
The RFEF has recognized the need for structural changes within the organisation and is making efforts to lure the striking players back, but the situation remains complex and evolving.
In summary, the aftermath of the World Cup kiss scandal has triggered significant disruptions in Spanish women’s football, with ongoing negotiations and protests demanding reforms within the RFEF. The exclusion of Jenni Hermoso from the national squad underscores the enduring impact of this controversy.