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Footballer at centre of World Cup kiss row left out of Spain squad

Footballer Jenni Hermoso has not been picked in Spain’s first squad since the World Cup kiss scandal erupted.

New Spain head coach Montse Tome said she had talked to the 33-year-old forward and decided not to include her in order to “protect her”.

Hermoso was kissed on the lips by Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales after the country won the Women’s World Cup.

Rubiales’ behaviour caused a huge crisis, with Hermoso insisting she did not consent to the kiss.

Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final

The incident happened during celebrations after the national side beat England 1-0 in the Sydney final on 20 August, with the whole World Cup-winning team then going on strike in protest

They have called for wide-ranging reforms and new leadership as Rubiales initially refused to resign before later quitting on 10 September.

Last Friday, 21 of the 23 Spanish players involved in the tournament – including Hermoso – said his resignation was not enough to trigger their return to national-team duty, and they demanded further change in the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

“The changes made are not enough for the players to feel safe, where women are respected, where there is support for women’s football and where we can maximise our potential,” they wrote.

Jennifer Hermoso pictured during the Women's World Cup final in Sydney
Jenni Hermoso had a penalty saved during the Women’s World Cup final

That same day, Rubiales was given a restraining order after sexual assault allegations by Hermoso following the kiss.

A judge banned the former president of the Spanish FA from contacting the player or going within 200m of her.

‘We stand with Jenni’

Now, 15 players who were in the World Cup-winning squad have been called up by Tome, with Hermoso one of eight absent for the Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland.

But Tome suggested Hermoso would return to the team in the future.

“We stand with Jenni,” Tome told a news conference. “We believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni.

“I believe this was the best way to protect her.”

Former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation Luis Rubiales arrives at the high court in Madrid, Spain - September 15, 2023 REUTERS/Susana Vera
Luis Rubiales has been given a restraining order

Read more:
Who is Luis Rubiales?
What did Rubiales and Hermoso say in kiss row?

Tome, who was an assistant at the Women’s World Cup to ex-coach Jorge Vilda, did not say whether it was Hermoso who asked not to be called up.

Also missing are captain Ivana Andres, Irene Guerrero, Mariona Caldentey, Laia Codina, Alba Redondo, Rocio Galvez and Claudia Zornoza.

Tome said she had spoken to all the World Cup-winning players who she picked and expected them to report to training camp on Tuesday.

She said no player had asked not to be called up, but would not say if they had agreed to end their boycott.


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