Spain’s women soccer players say their boycott remains

LAS ROZAS, Spain — Spain’s women’s players reiterated on Monday that they would continue to boycott the national team, signaling a deepening of the crisis that started after the country’s then football federation (RFEF) boss Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup presentation ceremony.

After most of the Women’s World Cup winners were selected for upcoming games, the players said in a joint statement they would take the “best decision” for their future and health after they would study the legal implications of being included in a squad list they had asked to be left out.

They argued the federation cannot require their presence because they alleged the call-up was not issued within the world’s soccer governing body FIFA parameters in terms of timings and procedure.

The revolt by the players was triggered after Mr. Rubiales kissed Ms. Hermoso on the lips following Spain’s World Cup victory. She disputed his insistence the kiss was consensual, sparking a national debate about macho culture in sport and eventually led to Mr. Rubiales’s resignation.

Ms. Hermoso was not on the squad list announced by new coach Montse Tome on Monday, which included 15 of the 23 cup-winning squad plus two players — Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro — who were not called up for the finals after signing an open letter against then-coach Jorge Vilda.

“We regret once more that our federation puts us in a situation we had never desired,” said the statement which was issued on the name of Spain’s top women’s team players but did not include signatures and was not shared by all of them on social media.

Among the ones that shared it were some of the team’s most prominent players such as Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmati.

Should they refuse the call-up, the players could face sanctions including fines of up €30,000 ($32,000) and the suspension of their federation licence for two to 15 years according to Spain’s Sports Act.

“If the players do not show up, the government must apply the law. I’m sorry to say so, but we must do what we have to do,” the head of Spain’s government national sports agency, Victor Francos, told SER radio station. — Reuters