SPANISH football has been plunged into deeper chaos after 39 players including 15 World Cup winners refused call-ups to the women’s team.
The stars say “nothing” has changed to make them back down as the fallout from Luis Rubiales kissing Jenni Hermoso on the lips continues.
Rubiales finally quit as Spanish football federation president last week after the scandal of his behaviour towards midfielder Hermoso at the World Cup medal ceremony intensified.
A group of 81 players, including all 23 members of the World Cup squad, said three weeks ago they would not play while Rubiales remained in charge.
New Spain head coach Montse Tome went ahead and named most of them anyway – but not Hermoso – for Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland.
But the players have doubled down on their stance – confirming in a statement on Monday night that “nothing” had changed.
They had turned up the heat last Friday after Rubiales resigned, saying they would only return after more changes to the Spnaish football system.
The players added they were not yet “in a safe place” and stressed problems at the federation ran far deeper than Rubiales.
And after Tome picked a huge batch of them on Monday, they responded by doubling down as they again rejected call-ups.
A new statement from the players included: “As elite professional players and after everything that has happened today, we will study the possible legal consequences to which the RFEF exposes us by putting us on a list from which we had asked not to be called for reasons already explained publicly and in more detail to the RFEF, and with this make the best decision for our future and for our health.”
They argued their selection was “not in accordance” with Fifa regulations, meaning the federation was “not in a position to require us to go”.
Meanwhile, Tome has emphasised she strongly backs Hermoso despite her omission.
The coach said: “We stand with Jenni. We believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni.
“It’s the start of a new phase, the clock is ticking. There is nothing behind us and we really want to connect with these players.”
Rubiales, 46, has been banned from going within 200 metres of Hermoso as the national court in Madrid considered a complaint of sexual assault – which he denies.