Tuesday October 3, 2023

Spain’s Women’s World Cup Winners Continue Boycott Amid Turmoil

  • Players from Spain’s World Cup-winning team will miss upcoming national team matches.
  • Former Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales has been given a restraining order over his unsolicited kiss to Jenni Hermoso.
Players from Spain’s World Cup-winning team confirming their plans to miss upcoming national team matches.
Keith McInnes/Sipa USA via USA TODAY Sports
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Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning players announced Friday that they’re continuing their boycott of the National Team despite the resignation of federation president Luis Rubiales and dismissal of coach Jorge Vilda.

The players sent a joint email to the Royal Spanish Football Federation explaining that they were not ready to return to play for the national team following their World Cup victory celebration stained by Rubiales’ unwanted kiss on the lips of player Jenni Hermoso. On Friday, a Spanish judge ordered a restraining order against Rubiales from coming within 200 meters of Hermoso.  

A statement signed by 39 national team players was posted Friday on X, calling for continued changes to the country’s soccer leadership. The players will not be available to play in Spain’s upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland. 

“The changes specified to the RFEF are based on zero tolerance for those people at the RFEF that have had, incited, hidden or applauded attitudes that go against the dignity of women,” reads the letter. “We believe firmly that decisive changes are needed in the leadership positions at the RFEF and to the women’s football department.”

Among Spain’s 39 World Cup-winning players to sign the letter was Esther González, who was in New York City on Thursday to announce her signing with NWSL team Gotham FC.

“It’s a big task and difficult to win the World Cup. And it is upsetting that took some of the attention away from it,” Gonzalez said Thursday through an interpreter regarding Rubiales’ kiss.

Gonzalez previously played for Real Madrid in Spain’s women’s soccer league, Liga F. Players called off their strike on Thursday after reaching an agreement to raise minimum salaries to $22,500 from last season’s roughly $17,000 minimum, which had delayed the start of Spain’s Liga F season.

“Here, upon arriving, I noticed all the players have a say, and there’s a lot of importance given to every player,” Gonzalez said of her move to the U.S. “In Spain, that’s beginning. There’s a lot of room to grow, but it’s a fight that has to continue over there.”

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