Defiant Spanish Women Footballers Report For Duty Amid Controversy and Uncertainty

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The once defiant Spanish women footballers who pledged to boycott the national team have shown up for international duty. This unexpected turn follows a controversial incident involving the former Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales and star player Jenni Hermoso in a post-match event after the Women’s World Cup final last month. Nevertheless, these players’ participation in the upcoming Nations League games remains cloaked in doubt.

In the build-up to Spain’s matches against Sweden and Switzerland, six Madrid-based players have assembled at a hotel before heading to Valencia to connect with the rest of the team. These include Olga Carmona, the celebrated goal-scorer who tipped the World Cup final in Spain’s favor, Misa Rodriguez, Oihane Hernandez, Teresa Abelleira, Athenea del Castillo – all from Real Madrid – and Atletico Madrid’s forward Eva Navarro.

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Despite their attendance, the players have remained firm in their support for the boycott. When questioned about her sentiments towards her inclusion in the squad, goalkeeper Rodriguez replied negatively. Several Barcelona-based players, including the illustrious two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas also joined the team near Valencia. In response to queries about the present predicament, Putellas made her discomfort known, expressing a similar sentiment as her teammate Mapi Leon who expressed concerns about the safety and compulsory nature of their participation.

Journalists have suggested that their attendance was driven by the potential legal implications, including bans and fines, should they defy the call for national duty. The players are expected to engage in continuing negotiations with the federation and the government.

Government officials echo this sentiment, insisting that they strive for quick changes that reestablish the players’ confidence, allowing these world champions to play and triumph in their quest to qualify for the next year’s Olympics. Sweden’s team doesn’t appear to be affected by the possible boycott according to their coach Peter Gerhardsson.

In recent developments, the possible compromise between the players and the federation might be finding another coach who isn’t closely tied to Rubiales. However, there’s skepticism surrounding this possible solution given the federation’s defensive stance currently.

Consequent to the squad announcement for the Nations League fixtures, star player Hermoso went public stating that such attempts only reaffirmed that no significant alterations were made within the federation. Hermoso unmasked the federation’s contradictions following the federation’s assurance of safety, leaving her to ask who she is being protected from.

She accused the federation of intimidation tactics and manipulation, expressing her solidarity towards the players forced to react to the unfortunate circumstances created by the decision-makers within the federation.

Backed by the united boycott pledge made by 81 players, Hermoso explained the search for protection from the federation that was fruitless, criticizing the same individuals who promised trust are now threatening with legal repercussions and economic sanctions.

The necessity for further changes was reiterated by 39 players despite Rubiales stepping down, clearly stating their strike will persist until the desired transformation is achieved. RFEF, on the other hand, encouraged these players to rejoin the national team, explaining the players’ obligation to play if selected further hinting towards a new chapter as stated by head coach Montse Tome.

Luis Rubiales, on the other hand, faces a restraining order from Hermoso, who denounced the kiss shared after the World Cup win as non-consensual. Despite denying the sexual assault charges in court, Rubiales is now banned from approaching Hermoso within 200 meters, showcasing the severe aftermath of a moment that shook Spanish and global football.