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Several striking Spain players arrive for national team camp

Published : Wednesday, 20 September, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 187

BARCELONA, SEPT 19: Six Spain players arrived at a Madrid hotel to join their women's national team camp on Tuesday, five of whom are currently striking over changes they want made in the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
Spain's women's World Cup final-winning goalscorer Olga Carmona and four others presented themselves, along with Athenea del Castillo, who is not on strike, while other players are expected to join up later for the camp in Oliva according to Spanish media reports.
Asked by a reporter if she was happy to be included in the squad, goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez replied "no" on her arrival to the hotel.
The striking players issued a statement Monday in which they reiterated their wish not to be called up, but acknowledged legal consequences which may force them to attend.
The Spanish government said early Tuesday players who do not attend would have to be punished under the country's sports law.
New Spain coach Montse Tome named a surprise 23-woman squad on Monday for upcoming Nations League qualifiers including 20 players who said they were striking until further changes were made in the RFEF after the kiss scandal which rocked Spanish football.
Disgraced former federation president Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the World Cup in Sydney on August 20, provoking worldwide outrage.
Rubiales eventually resigned three weeks after the incident and controversial coach Jorge Vilda was sacked, but many players want more wide-ranging improvements and structural changes.
As many as 39 players are on strike against the RFEF but they were told by the government early Tuesday that those who did not attend the team's camps when called up would have to be punished.
Hermoso was not named in the squad by Tome in order to "protect" her, the new coach, Vilda's former assistant, said Monday.
"Protect me from what? And from whom?" Hermoso posted on X, formerly Twitter, early Tuesday.
She accused the Spanish federation of seeking to "intimidate and threaten" the World Cup champion players by calling them up against their will for the upcoming matches.
Victor Francos, the president of Spain's High Council for Sports (CSD), said early Tuesday he would have to apply the country's sports law against any player who snubbed the call.
"If they don't turn up, the government would have to apply the law, which is a pity for me, but the law is the law," Francos told radio station Cadena Ser.    �AFP

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