Spain row reignites as players seek legal advice over international call-up

Spain’s World Cup winners are asking for structural change to the governing body before they end their national team strike – Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP

Most of Spain’s women’s national team players say they are seeking legal advice, after being called up to their latest squad despite telling their football federation [RFEF] they would not play for Spain until the RFEF makes widespread reforms for women.

The players want to remain on strike, but reportedly face the threat of fines, or even having their players’ licences revoked, if they fail to turn up to Spain’s training camp on Tuesday morning, ahead of Friday’s Nations League fixture against Sweden.

However, the players – 39 of whom had co-signed a statement last Friday saying that would boycott international matches in the wake of the Luis Rubiales saga – believe that the RFEF not naming the squad until Monday afternoon, three days later than the originally planned, could exempt them from being legally required to answer the call-up.

New Spain head coach Montse Tome – previously the assistant to Rubiales’ long-term ally Jorge Vilda, who was sacked earlier this month – named her first squad on Monday. She did not include Jenni Hermoso, who has accused Rubiales of sexual assault, and Tome said: “We believe that the best way to protect her is like this.”

Spain’s National Court has banned Rubiales from going within 200 metres of Hermoso. He denied any wrongdoing when appearing in court on Friday.

Yet Tome did otherwise name a near full-strength side. Earlier on Monday, the RFEF issued a statement calling on the players to join them as they vowed to make structural changes, saying: “Players are urged to join this change led by the Federation, understanding that the transformations that must continue must be solid and fair.

”We guarantee a safe environment for the players and we are committed to a climate of mutual trust so that we can work together and ensure that women’s football continues to progress much more strongly.”

But a statement issued later on Monday by the majority of the players who were called up, including Barcelona’s Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, said that the “justified reasons” why they do not wish to be called up “remain in full force and effect”.

According to a source close to the team, several of the squad did not know they had been called up until they watched Tome’s squad announcement live on television.

Tome now faces an anxious wait to see how many, if any, of her squad turn up to training on Tuesday.

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