Prior to the first squad announcement under new coach Montse Tome on Monday, the Spanish Football Federation urged 39 striking players to rejoin the women’s national team.
The four weeks following Spain’s victory at the Women’s World Cup have been marred by scandal and unrest due to the forcible kiss that former president Luis Rubiales gave midfielder Jenni Hermoso.
After Rubiales declared he would not resign from his position, the entire World Cup team and hundreds more athletes went on strike in protest.
The controversial coach Jorge Vilda was fired as a result of the incident, and the 46-year-old eventually resigned after receiving unprecedented criticism. He is currently being sued for sexual assault and coercion after his kiss.
Despite the modifications, 39 players, including the majority of the World Cup champions, declared they would not return until other requirements were satisfied, such as restructuring several divisions within the Spanish federation (RFEF).
According to Spanish sources published on Monday, none of the 39 players who are still on strike would be willing to play for the team that Tome will designate at 1430 GMT to face Sweden and Switzerland in the Nations League. Tome will announce the team at 1630 local time.
The RFEF, which is now headed by interim president Pedro Rocha, invited players to join the transformation being led by the federation, understanding that the improvements that must continue must be strong and equitable.
The declaration seems to be a desperate effort to win back the players, notably two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas.
The RFEF stated that “difficult decisions” had been made recently and that the process will go on because the federation “is aware of the need to make structural changes”.
The RFEF continued, “We guarantee a safe atmosphere for the players and we are committed to a climate of mutual confidence so that we can collaborate and ensure that women’s football continues to advance significantly more.
“We must start displaying the star (on the shirt, representing the World Cup victory) that the national teams have worked so hard to achieve.”