The new coach of Spain's women's team had to delay the announcement of her first squad Friday after the country's World Cup-winning players maintained their boycott of the national team as part of their fight against sexism in soccer.
Spain coach Montse Tomé was set to announce her squad on Friday. But 20 minutes before she was supposed to hold a news conference, the federation said it was postponed to a time to be determined.
The federation said the players had rejected their attempts to convince them to return to the team early on Friday.
That leaves Tomé with the difficult decision of whether to still call up the revolting players, or select a completely different team for upcoming Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland on Sept. 22 and 26.
According to Spanish sports law, athletes are required to answer the call of its national teams unless there are circumstances that impede them from playing, such as an injury.
Spain’s women have had little chance to celebrate their greatest soccer achievement because Luis Rubiales, the now former president of the federation, caused an uproar when he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips at the awards ceremony in Sydney on Aug. 20.
The 23 players, along with dozens of other players, responded to his subsequent refusal to step down in the days after the kiss by announcing that they would not play for their nation again until the federation underwent deep reforms and had new leadership. The federation has been in upheaval since.
Rubiales was first suspended by soccer governing body FIFA, then his interim replacement fired women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda, who was unpopular with players. Rubiales himself eventually resigned under immense pressure.
Many expected that the firing of Vilda and the exit of Rubiales would clear the path for the return of the players. But it appears that the players want more changes, even though they have not made their specific demands public.
Rubiales has been given a restraining order and is prohibited from contacting the player he kissed, Spain’s National Court said Friday.
Rubiales appeared in front of Judge Francisco de Jorge and denied any wrongdoing when questioned about kissing Hermoso on the lips, the state prosecutors’ office said.
After hearing Rubiales, the judge issued the restraining order that prohibits Rubiales from being within 200 meters of Hermoso. The state prosecutors had asked for that ban to reach 500 meters.
The judge rejected the prosecutors’ request to also oblige Rubiales to check in with a court every 15 days as well as the request by Hermoso’s lawyer to freeze assets belonging to Rubiales.