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“Protect me from what?” - Jenni Hermoso hits back at Spanish FA

The situation relating to the Spanish women’s team becomes more entrenched as the Pachuca striker replies to new coach Tomé.

Pachuca's Jenni Hermoso

Any sign of a quick resolution between players from the Spanish women’s team and the RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) seem to be growing ever remote after there was another twist in a bizarre day even by RFEF’s recent standards.

On Monday evening, new head coach Montse Tomé was officially unveiled along with her backroom staff, the 41-year-old then proceeded to name her squad for the World Cup winners forthcoming UEFA Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland. The list included 20 players from the recent World Cup who had previously publicly stated that unless sweeping changes at the federation were forthcoming, they would not be available for selection. Tomé also ruled Jenni Hermoso out for what se claimed was an effort to ‘protect the player’.

Spanish players release statement

At around 10:15pm local time on Monday (September 18), the players called up to the squad released a statement saying that “the players of the Spanish National Team want to show that, given the squad and subsequent press conference from the new head coach Montse Tomé, the following: what was said in our statement makes clear and with no option for interpretation our firm decision not to be called up for justified reasons. These affirmations continue to be valid.

We want to make it public that during the days following that statement, we did not transmit anything different to that to anyone at the RFEF, which is why we expressly ask for that all information given be accurate.

As elite professionals, and after everything that has happened today, we will study the possible legal consequences the RFEF expose us to given that we have been called up to a squad to which we publicly expressed our desire not to be, for reasons already explained and in more detail to the RFEF, and with that we will make the best decision for our future and our health.

It seems relevant to us to point out that, in that sense, the call-up was not carried out in time and in the correct way, in accordance with the article 3.2 of Annex I of FIFA Regulations of the Status and Transfer of Players, which we understand that as a result the RFEF are not in a position to demand we attend.

We regret, once again, that our Federation puts us in a position that we never would have wanted.”

Hermoso hits back

In the early hours of Tuesday, Pachuca striker Jenni Hermoso posted a message on her Twitter account hitting back at the RFEF defending herself and her teammates. The statement begins with a ‘Protect me from what’ quote which is a direct response to Tomé's earlier reasoning for omitting the forward from the team.

Jenni Hermoso
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Jenni Hermoso Alex Pantling - FIFAFIFA via Getty Images

“We have spent weeks, months, looking for that protection that we have not been able to find within the RFEF itself. The same people who ask us for confidence are the ones who today are launching a list with players who have asked NOT to be called up”, said the player in reference to the statement published by the Federation on Monday. In it, a “safe environment” was assured with the intention of “transmitting to the internationals the public commitment acquired by the new management”

She added that, in her view, the call-up process amounted to nothing more than manipulation from the FA who have gone as far as threatening legal action should the players refuse to play.

The Spain squad are supposed to show up at the RFEF HQ in Madrid on Tuesday morning to begin preparation for the Sweden game but apparently no transport plans have been put in place and the game itself on Friday is now in doubt.

The women’s squad have made their position clear and feel that by the federation naming Pedro Rocha (Luis Rubiales’ right hand man) and Montse Tomé, who was Jorge Vilda’s assistant, their desire to afront the sweeping changes the players feel necessary is not being taken seriously.