Footballer, Jenni Hermoso has hit back at suggestions from Spain’s new women’s head coach Montse Tome that she wasn’t picked for the upcoming Nations League squad in an effort to ‘protect’ her.
The midfielder is at the center of a media storm after former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales kissed her on the lips at the 2023 Women’s World Cup final as she went to collect her winner’s medal.
The 33-year-old joins a host of World Cup winners not included in the team after many refused to be called up due to the ongoing crisis surrounding the women’s side and the Spanish FA.
Two Spanish FA chiefs are now preparing to sue 39 women’s team stars for defamation, according to reports in Spain.
Meanwhile, Luis Rubiales, who was seen kissing Hermoso on the medal podium after the World Cup final, announced his resignation as he battles charges of sexual assault and coercion.
Tome initially explained Hermoso’s absence, stating: ‘We are with Jenni in everything and with all the players, the best way to help them is to be with them and listen to them. The best way to protect her is like this, I have worked a lot with her.’
Hermoso replied by slamming the FA’s explanation for her absence in a lengthy social media retort where she labelled the decision as ‘another strategy of division and manipulation’.
‘Protect me from what?’ Hermoso began her damning statement with.’
‘Let’s be clear; a claim was made today stating that the environment within the federation would be safe for my colleagues to rejoin yet at the same press conference it was announced that they were not calling me as a means to protect me.
‘Protect me from what? And from whom? We have been searching for weeks – months, even – for protection from the RFEF that never came.
‘The people who now ask us to trust them are the same ones who today disclosed the list of players who have asked not to be called up’ said Hermoso.
‘The players are certain that this is yet another strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussions and economic sanctions. It is yet more irrefutable proof that shows that even today, nothing has changed.
‘I want to once again show my full support to my colleagues who have been caught by surprise and forced to react to another unfortunate situation caused by the people who continue to make decisions within the RFEF.
‘This is why we are fighting and why we are doing it in this way,’ she added.
Hermoso has been in the spotlight since she was kissed on the medal podium at the World Cup final by the now-resigned Spanish FA president, Rubiales.
Spain will travel to take on Sweden in their first Nations League game on Friday before hosting Switzerland in Cordoba.