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Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 expert review: all the new updates and features

Spring has officially sprung, and with it has come the arrival of Apple’s latest watch lineup: the Series 9 and Ultra 2.

Earlier this year, we reported on all the major health updates coming to your Apple devices, from a new journaling app (due later this year) that provides iPhone users new ways to reflect on moments throughout their everyday lives, updates to the Mindfulness app for both Apple Watch and iPhone users, and the introduction of its proprietary Health app on iPad. 

Physical health and fitness support also got an upgrade with big wins for cyclists and hikers. With the release of iOS 17 and watchOS 10 this week, Apple Watch users can now see key live cycling metrics on their iPhone when mounted on their bike, as well as several new metrics when connected to Bluetooth cycling accessories designed to take your cycling to the next level. 

But what about the watches themselves?

Now that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 have officially landed on shelves, we got our hands on them and put them to the test.

Apple Watch Series 9

Right out of the box, and at first glance, you’ll be hard-pressed to notice any major changes to the look and feel of the Series 9. 

Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t just a simple reincarnation of the previous Series 8. Apple has focused almost entirely on making changes under the hood for this year’s release

The introduction of a new chip (the S9 SiP) brings with it a raft of performance improvements, none more noticeable than the display, which sports double the maximum brightness of the Series 8. 

On a midday run in full sun, both the 41mm and 45mm displays read incredibly well, and metrics from the native Workout app are shown vividly and clearer than ever, meaning I was able to focus on the run itself without trying to read my distance and pace multiple times.

Outside of using the watches for workouts, animations and effects are noticeably smoother, more engaging and, in general, faster than those on previous generations of Apple Watch.

Siri has also had a glow-up, with faster and more reliable responses.

For requests that don’t require Wi-Fi or mobile reception, commands are now processed directly on your wrist, rather than going through the internet and the cloud. 

I tested this several times in different scenarios, from setting a timer while completing a quick circuit workout in an underground car park (notorious as blackout zones) to initiating a run on a treadmill at the gym, and it worked beautifully. 

While this might not seem like a big deal at first, it opens up other opportunities not previously possible on older generations of Apple Watch, like logging and retrieving health data. And because on-device processing is secure and private, Siri can now let me know how many steps I’ve done today or hours of sleep I’ve had (not enough on both fronts, apparently).

Later, when I jump on the scales, I’m able to log my weight directly without needing to go through the Health app on my iPhone, making it easier to track my fitness and health over time. And anything that helps us to improve our overall fitness and health, should be counted as a win.

Again, this is all due to the new chip working behind the scenes. 

As with previous releases, the Series 9 is available in several different colours and finishes, including an all-new pink aluminium option. 

While grabbing a coffee after a gym workout, I noticed a few people clocking the new 41mm pink case, which I’ve paired with the redesigned (and more environmentally friendly) pink sport loop watch band. Given that we’re still firmly in our Barbiecore era, this will likely be one of the more popular choices. 

Later, I sport the 45mm midnight aluminium case with the blue flame Nike sport band, made from recycled content and production scraps, ahead of a high-intensity workout. The airy, perforated design provides excellent ventilation and keeps the watch tightly secured to my wrist. 

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Again, as with the Series 9, users are unlikely to spot any significant design changes to the Ultra 2 right out of the box. 

But Apple has, in fact, made some subtle yet environmentally welcome changes to the exterior. Compared to the first generation Ultra, the new case is now made from 95 per cent recycled titanium without sacrificing the same level of ruggedness, corrosion resistance and lightweight feel we’ve come to love from the previous iteration. 

Where things get interesting is with updates made to the interior.

Like the Series 9, the Ultra 2 also ships with Apple’s latest chip. This brings with it the same updated capabilities for private and secure on-device Siri, smoother animations and effects and improvements to the brightness. Having worn the previous Ultra as my watch of choice, the screen is noticeably brighter (50 per cent brighter according to the tech company).

Unlike the Series 9, though, the Ultra 2 has been designed for serious sports, fitness and adventure lovers. A new exclusive modular watch face, aptly named Modular Ultra, takes full advantage of the larger display found on Ultra watches. 

When testing the new watch face, it’s remarkably powerful in providing access to all the metrics and apps you need, depending on the type of activity you’re undertaking.

Over a week, I tried the endurance and adventure options, and both made it incredibly easy to see at a glance the data and metrics you’d need to know whether you’re regularly training for a long run or going for hikes. While I didn’t get to test this, it’s worth noting there’s also an ocean option for activities like recreational scuba diving and water sports.

For runners and cyclists, the Ultra 2 is likely to be a compelling reason to upgrade, particularly if moving from Apple’s flagship watch series. The updated brightness makes viewing up to six lines of metrics at a glance easy, letting you focus on what’s important mid-run, like your average pace, heart rate and distance, whether you’re hitting the pavement before dawn or mid-afternoon. 

Again, I didn’t try this feature, but I love that if you arrive at a running track, it will automatically be clocked by the watch and ask you to confirm your running lane in order to provide the most accurate pace and distance data. It’ll even count the laps for you.

Cyclists have also been given a major update through the release of watchOS 10 and iOS 17 (both available now). Among the most exciting features is the all-new Live Activity view that turns your iPhone into an external display for your Apple Watch, maximising the full-screen real estate of the iPhone. Several existing Workout Views from Apple Watch have been optimised so you can easily swipe between them to display various metrics based on what’s most important to you – from heart rate zones, elevation and distance to custom workouts. While not exclusive to the Ultra 2, it’s a powerful addition that makes the lineup a stellar fitness watch in its own right.

Double tap

Undoubtedly, the double tap gesture has been one of the most talked about features in this year’s lineup of Apple Watches. While not yet available, the new double tap gesture (made by tapping your index finger and thumb twice in quick succession) will enable you to control your watch without having to touch the display.

There’s no word yet on an official release date, but having tried the feature out during Apple’s special September event at its Cupertino headquarters, I’ve seen first-hand (no pun intended) how useful this feature will be, from answering (or ending) a call mid-run to pausing music and even stopping workouts. 

The verdict?

Updates under the hood for the Series 9 and Ultra 2 make them compelling enough to consider an upgrade, particularly if you use an Apple Watch regularly for fitness tracking and working out. The durable titanium design of the Ultra 2, along with the larger and brighter display over the Series 9 (and its previous generations), make it the ideal partner for those who regularly train for endurance sports, adventures and races. 

Pricing and the lineup

Apple Watch Series 9 prices start at $649 and is available in both 41mm and 45mm sizes in starlight, midnight, silver, and a new pink aluminium case, as well as stainless steel in gold, silver, and graphite cases. 

Apple Watch Ultra 2 is available for A$1,399.

Read related topics:ExerciseRunning

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Could over-the-counter cannabinoid products be just around the corner?

Across Australia, pharmaceutical companies are undergoing rigorous clinical trials to gain regulatory approval for their cannabinoid products. Following some promising results, over-the-counter products could be hitting the shelves sooner than previously thought. 

For thousands of years, the cannabis plant has been recognised for its medicinal attributes. Dating as far back as 2800 BC, cannabis was employed in the treatment of diverse health conditions and was included in Emperor Shen Nung’s ancient pharmacopoeia.

Nung is considered the father of Chinese medicine and is believed to have invented the treatment of acupuncture.  But cannabis hasn’t been without its controversies and throughout much of the 1900s was largely demonised and as a consequence out of favour for medicinal use.

However, the stigma associated with cannabis-based medicine and health products is well and truly abating. In light of the increasing global recognition of medicinal cannabinoids, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) reclassified low-dose cannabidiol (CBD) from a prescription medication (Schedule 4) to a pharmacist-only medicine (Schedule 3).

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The decision enabled TGA-approved low-dose CBD-containing products included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) for use in adults, to be supplied over-the-counter (OTC) by a pharmacist, without a prescription from February 2021.

It all sounded good in theory for cannabinoid products to be sold OTC as long as they’re below the allowed dosage of 150mg/day and included on the ARTG but in practice it hasn’t worked out that way…well yet anyway.

You see, there are currently no TGA cannabinoid-approved products on the ARTG that meet the Schedule 3 criteria.

The criteria explained

The TGA’s requirement for all Schedule 3 cannabinoid medications to be included on ARTG has faced criticism given that proving efficacy is a primary prerequisite, which predominantly requires arduous, expensive and time-consuming clinical trials.

Trials are generally divided into three phases with Phase 1 focusing on safety, Phase 2 testing for effectiveness and Phase 3 examining whether the new drug is an improvement on existing treatment.

Medicines not included in the ARTG are known as unapproved medicines and according to the TGA have not been evaluated by the authority for quality, safety and effectiveness. Unapproved CBD medicines can continue to be accessed via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised Prescriber (AP) scheme on prescription only.

In terms of cannabis companies providing medicinal cannabis products under the SAS or AP scheme, the list is long.

Some frontrunners for OTC development

Bod Australia

Bod Australia is in pole position to have the first Schedule 3 CBD product in the Australian market after earlier this month announcing positive preliminary results from its Phase 2B Can-Rest Insomnia trial.

“The trial completion marks a significant breakthrough for Bod for our uniquely formulated Schedule 3 CBD product,” shares CEO Jo Patterson. “The singularity of this product is in its soft gel format, utilising a patent-protected encapsulation technology.”


Neurotech’s proprietary broad-spectrum cannabinoid drug therapy NTI164 is currently being investigated across three clinical trials in paediatric patients suffering from autism, Rett Syndrome and PANDAS/PANS, which are neurological disorders characterised by elevated neuroinflammatory processes.

“We are developing NTI164 as a therapy for predominately rare paediatric neurological disorders, where safe and effective therapies are lacking,” says executive director Dr Thomas Duthy

MGC Pharmaceuticals

The European-based company has conducted and finished several trials of its medicinal products. Furthermore, the company has had several research papers published with leading institutions including RMIT on The Pathophysiology and the Therapeutic Potential of Cannabinoids in Prostate Cancer. 

Zelira Therapeutics

Zelira successfully completed an IRB-approved, multi-arm head-to-head study of its proprietary diabetic nerve pain drug ZLT-L-007 against Pfizer’s multi-billion-dollar annual revenue drug Lyrica. ZLD now plans to progress their cannabinoid-based oral capsule into further formal clinical trials on a path towards regulatory approval.

Incannex Healthcare

Incannex Healthcare has the world’s largest portfolio of patented medicinal cannabinoid drug formulations and psychedelic treatment protocols. They have an upcoming pivotal (Phase 2/3) study of its novel cannabinoid combination for patients with obstructive sleep apnoea after promising Phase 2 results were released last year.

“We also have other early-stage cannabinoid assets which we plan to take to trial in the future,” CEO Joel Latham told Stockhead. “We see ourselves as a fully-fledged biotech so we want to develop novel treatments with are clinically and scientifically validated to achieve registration with the major health regulators globally.”

The original version of this article was published on and has been republished with permission. 

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Mental health: Teachers say poor mental health is the biggest issue for young people

The mental health of our Australian school kids is at an all-time low, teachers say. In fact, poor mental wellbeing is the biggest issue students are facing today. 

Half of all the mental health conditions we experience at some point in our lives will have started by age 14. 

What’s more alarming is that one in 10 people between the ages of 12 and 17 will self-harm, while one in 13 will seriously consider suicide. One in 40 will follow through with a suicide attempt. It’s no wonder our country’s teachers fear for the mental health of their students.

A 2023 Beyond Blue survey found that Australian teachers believe poor mental health is the biggest issue amongst our youth, followed by excessive screen-time, and then bullying, according to the ABC.

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Of the 2,369 teachers surveyed by the mental health support organisation, only one in three believed their students were mentally healthy.

„[There have been] more noticeable moments where people are upset at school,“ Alanah, a year 11 student at Braemar College in Victoria, told The ABC. „People kind of go on nervous rants. I’ve seen some people cry in really bad circumstances.“

For Alanah, social media has played a big part in the mental health of her and her classmates. „There’s this need to kind of show off, and show that you have friends and that you’re doing all these things — and if you don’t you kind of get outcast,“ she said.

„I think it’s definitely hard to switch off, especially at lunchtime you walk around, everyone’s just scrolling.“

Emma Grant, Braemar College’s wellbeing specialist, said the enforcement of lockdown in 2020 through to 2022 had a huge impact. From her own experience with students, she’s noticed some are lacking a sense of purpose and social skills because of the extended periods of isolation.

„They’re not learning social awareness. They’re not learning how to read emotions. They’re not learning body language,“ Grant said. „A 16-year-old is not where you would typically see a 16-year-old, for example. Same with a 14-year-old. They’re missing some of those socio-emotional key skills.“

Yes, during the pandemic it was mobile phones and devices that kept young people connected, but it also resulted in excessive screen time, something they can’t kick.

Beyond Blue’s findings have led to new mental health resources which will become part of the classroom curriculum, created by the Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority (ACARA) in consultation with Beyond Blue, Headspace, the National Mental Health Commission, and of course, our teachers nationwide.

And they won’t just be exclusive to PDHPE classes, they’ll be included in lessons under the English and humanities departments. 

„We don’t want students to think the only time we’re talking about the importance of mental health and wellbeing is when they walk into a class and timetable that has health and physical education on it,“ said Sharon Foster, ACARA’s curriculum director. It’s an ongoing discussion, and one of the upmost importance.

If you or someone you know is suffering from poor mental health, visit, or call 1300 22 4636.

Read related topics:Mental Health

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Hygiene: The correct way to wash your arms pits

A yummy smelling soap can make for a calming and sensory experience come shower time, but as it turns out, using a fragrant product to clean your armpits could be doing you more harm than good.

Do you a fragrant soap or body wash? And do you use a cloth or sponge in the shower? Put them down. We repeat: put, them, down.

According to a TikTok hygiene expert, Mary Futher, who’s better known as Madame Sweat, using nice-smelling soaps and gentle cleaning implements will not actually get those armpits of yours clean at all.

According to Futher, if you’re not using an antibacterial soap, and not washing each area for around 30 seconds, then you’re harbouring the previous days’ filth.

“If you’re washing your underarms like this, with some tutti-frutti soap, I can guarantee you still have yesterday’s deodorant on your underarms,” she explained, mimicking a wash, in a now-viral TikTok clip.

The hygiene product developer then called upon a man named Joey, who demonstrated the correct action.

“We’re here in the shower with Joey, and he’s lathering for 30 seconds,” she said as he got to work on his hairy pits. “He’s doing it right. Plus, he’s using an antibacterial soap!

According to Futher, soaps are only antibacterial if they’re not fragrant, and contain apple cider vinegar, salt and charcoal. But to reap the benefits, you’ve „really gotta get in there to get rid of yesterday’s deodorant.”

Futher was flooded with responses in the comments section, including one woman who said to “just use a washcloth”, but the expert wasn’t having it.

“Washcloths tend to harbour a lot of bacteria,” she said. And if you’re not cleaning them between cleaning yourself – that’s guaranteed old sweat. A good alternative may be an exfoliating glove, but that too needs to be cleaned after use. 

According to the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), using deodorant won’t stop bacteria and bad odour under the armpits completely, but it can form some sort of defence. This means you’re not just working to clear deodorant residue when you’re showering, but a host of bacteria, too.

We’re also not actually meant to omit odour when we sweat. It’s a result of bacteria, genetics, age or diet.  

“Humans have three types of sweat glands – apocrine, eccrine, sebaceous,” the ASM explained.

“Body odour is primarily caused by apocrine sweat glands that become activated during puberty. These sweat glands develop in hairy regions like the armpits, genitals and scalp, where they secrete an oily fluid comprised of proteins, lipids and steroids.

“Contrary to popular belief, this viscous fluid (sweat) is naturally almost entirely odourless. It is only when members of the skin microbiota metabolise these secretions that they produce the malodorous byproducts, which cause body odour. In humans, armpits offer a moist, warm environment where microbes can thrive, making them a microbial hotspot.”

Moist, microbes and armpits – three words we don’t want to see in the same sentence.

Futher is definitely onto something. Who wants to breed bacteria in this “moist” region of the human body? With summer on its way, perhaps it’s time to invest in an antibacterial soap and get scrubbing!

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Mouth breathing can actually change the shape of your face

It seems chronic mouth breathers have yet another health concern to worry about. All in all, the practice is seldom associated with positive things, with the latest information only piling on top of an already high list of risky health symptoms. 

Whether you read into the implications of the recent mouth-taping TikTok trend, or the increasing number of health studies available, mouth breathing is generally considered to be something we want to avoid. 

Being called a ‘mouth breather’ has long been used as a derogatory term, rudely insinuating a person lacks the intelligence to do something as simple as breathe through their nose. But while the insult may cut deep, the health implications of mouth breathing go far beyond the surface.

There are already studies suggesting mouth breathing can significantly result in a lower concentration of oxygen in the blood, fast-tracking someone towards symptoms of heart failure. Chronic asthmatics have also been warned to monitor if, and how much, they are relying on mouth breathing, given their already decreased lung function. 

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But now, experts are claiming that without intervention from a young age, chronic mouth breathing may in fact permanently alter your face shape.

“Mouth breathing is a major issue especially if this started before puberty because it can have such a huge impact on the way that your facial structure grows and the end result of what your face is going to look like,” Dr Arash Moradzadeh tells allure.

The Beverly Hills-based facial reconstruction surgeon says that without intervention, chronic mouth breathing as a child can manifest as rounder cheeks and an elongated face. 

So what’s the big difference between inhaling through your nose vs. your mouth? To put it bluntly, the human nose acts as a sort of filter, refining the quality of the air you inhale. 

Habitual mouth breathing during intense exercise is common, but consistently finding yourself breathing through your mouth at all times of the day is cause for concern.  

So how exactly does it impact our face development?

Dr Albert Silvera, another Beverly Hills-based expert, says the gradual modification comes down to a displacement of pressure from our tongue. 

“When you breathe through your nose, your tongue naturally fills your palate space and exerts an upward and outward pressure. It promotes forward growth of the jawbones,” the doctor of dental surgery explains. 

The long-term implications of this displaced pressure are extensive, such as stumped growth of the bottom jaw, crowding of teeth, constricted airways, and difficulty sleeping. 

“Mouth breathers are more likely to have or develop more forward tongue posture and jaw and neck posture problems,” Dr Moradzadeh adds. “Their head kind of sticks more forward over time, and that leads to a more curved back posturing.”  

Is there anything mouth breathers can do?

Before you let TikTok experts misguide you into sticking your mouth shut with a piece of scotch tape, take a deep breath and read what the real experts recommend. 

Both doctors emphasise the importance of understanding why you’re breathing through your mouth in the first place. With consistent awareness and effort, it is possible to decrease the prevalence of mouth breathing. 

Other interventions later in life targeting things like posture and sleep can also make a difference to the health symptoms someone might be experiencing as a result of years of inhaling through their mouth. 

But when it comes to permanently reversing the physical changes to mouth breathers’ bone structure developed in childhood, there’s not on the table aside from plastic surgery and cosmetic injectables. 

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Memberships at every A-league football club have increased since the Matildas’ success in the World Cup

The A-League, Australia’s premier football competition, is seeing a surge in membership sign-ups ahead of the new women’s season commencing on October 14th.

Feeling inspired by the Matildas‘ groundbreaking performance at the World Cup? You’re certainly not alone! Our history-making Matildas‘ World Cup performance appears to have sparked an unprecedented enthusiasm for women’s soccer in Australia.

This uptick in support has prompted Football Australia to move the upcoming crucial Paris Olympic qualifier against the Philippines to the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium, ready to accommodate an additional 40,000 excited fans.

But it’s not just the national team garnering support. The upcoming A-League women’s (ALW) season is experiencing a tidal wave of excitement, with an astounding spike in membership sign-ups.

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The ALW is made up of eleven clubs. Brisbane Road, Adelaide United, Canberra United, Central Coast United, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Sydney FC, Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Central Coast Mariners will join the women’s league this year, bringing the total number of teams in line with the men’s competitions. And, ahead of the exciting 2023/24 season, five clubs are boasting their highest-ever membership sign-ups, with the others not far behind, poised to surpass last season’s records.

Sydney FC, the proud home of World Cup squad member Cortnee Vine, has seen a 1223 per cent increase in sign-ups. Sydney FC CEO Adam Santo can hardly contain his excitement for the next „momentous“ season.

“This is a historic moment for football in this country, and I’m excited to see people are rushing out to buy their Sydney FC Memberships,” a delighted Santo says.

For less than $11 per fixture, Sydney FC’s Memberships include access to matchdays, including doubleheaders, unique events, insider access, and discounts. But the excitement does not end there; Brisbane Roar, home to the brilliant Tameka Yallop from the Matildas squad, is also experiencing a 1571 per cent spike in membership.

New Roar COO Zac Anderson highlighted the „unbelievable response“ on the club’s website, announcing that „we are now well over 1,000 A-League Women’s memberships.“

Stadiums will also be filled with unprecedented crowds for Newcastle Jets (98 per cent increase), Melbourne Victory (75 per cent increase), and Canberra United (24 per cent increase). Because actual membership statistics have yet to be completed, these are expressed as a percentage of the previous season’s values.

A-league commissioner Nick Garcia welcomed the league’s „fantastic“ growth trend, saying he is „excited to see this momentum continue“ in the coming season. Garcia also pointed to a „rising interest among the next generation of fans,“ with over 17,000 children signing up for a free season pass since the World Cup.

With the Liberty A-League Pass, children under 16 can attend every Liberty A-League match, on any day, at any location, in Australia during the 2023/24 Liberty A-League Women home and away season!

Mark your calendars on October 14, when the ALW season begins off with a bang, setting the stage for the men’s season debut the following weekend.

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Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso has been cut from the national squad following the World Cup kiss scandal

After a wave of resignations following a non-consensual kiss between former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales and star player Jenni Hermoso, the new coach of the national squad has cut Hermoso from the team, in an attempt ‚to protect her‘. 

Spanish star Jenni Hermoso has been cut from the Spanish national squad as a result of the World Cup kiss scandal.

New coach Montse Tome made her first big decisions as Spain women’s coach when she named a surprising squad for upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland.

The squad is in chaos with 15 of the World Cup-winning group selected, despite most of the players still being on strike from the national team.

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Midfielder Hermoso was in the eye of the storm that shook Spanish football over the past month after former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales forcibly kissed her, with 39 players striking from the national team despite his resignation and coach Jorge Vilda’s sacking.

Vilda, disliked by some of the players, was dismissed as the Spanish football federation tried to make changes demanded by over 80 players, striking in the wake of former president Rubiales’s kiss on midfielder Jenni Hermoso’s lips in Sydney.

After Rubiales resigned, 39 players including the vast majority of the World Cup squad, said they still did not plan to return until further changes were made.

However, Tome called up many of them, saying she was convinced they would come and hailing their professionalism.

Tome said she left Hermoso out of the squad to protect her.

“We are with Jenni on everything, and with all the players,” added the new coach.

“The best way to protect her is like this, I have worked five years with her.”

Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was named in the squad by Tome, along with Barcelona teammates Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, a duo who were not at the World Cup because of another protest against the RFEF and Vilda.

Tome said she’d spoken to the World Cup players on strike before she selected them.

“I trust in that the players are professionals, they have just become champions of the world, they love the national team, and I know they will be here with us tomorrow,” Tome told a news conference.

“Today we start a new era in the national team, that’s something good, beautiful, all players have the chance to be here and all have the same opportunities.”

Swiss forward Ana Crnogorcevic, who signed for Atletico Madrid this summer from Barcelona labelled Tome’s squad “disrespectful”.

“This is insane… how can you threaten your own players like this… call them to the national team, when they said they want clear changes before they come back!” wrote Crnogorcevic on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“This is soooo disrespectful… clearly they don’t care… and they don’t allow them to make their own decision.” Previously, while Rubiales was still in charge, the RFEF reminded the striking players that they would be obliged to come if called up, regardless of their strike.

How Spanish football was brought to its knees

Rubiales kissed Hermoso during the medal ceremony after Spain beat England in Sydney on August 20, provoking a fierce worldwide backlash.

Expected to resign at an emergency RFEF meeting, Rubiales railed against false feminism and said he was going nowhere.

Vilda, Tome and Spain’s men’s coach Luis de la Fuente were criticised for applauding Rubiales’s fiery discourse.

“We had to come because they told us to — the things that happened there I didn’t feel part of,” said Tome.

“The two times I applauded were when he said that we are all world champions and when they told me that I was going to be the sporting director.”

Rubiales’ speech led to 81 women’s players going on strike and most of Vilda’s coaching staff, including his assistant Tome, offering their resignations to the RFEF.

Vilda was sacked on September 5, with Rubiales resigning on September 10, later appearing in Spain’s top criminal court as part of an investigation into sexual assault and coercion regarding the kiss.

Despite their departures, 39 players, including the vast majority of the World Cup winners, had said they would not come back until further conditions were met, including reshaping certain departments within the RFEF, currently led by interim president Pedro Rocha.

“Players are urged to join this change led by the federation, understanding that the changes that must continue have to be solid and fair,” said the RFEF earlier Monday in a statement.

It appeared a last-ditch attempt to lure the players back.

The RFEF said “difficult decisions” had been made in recent days and the process would continue, as the federation itself “is aware of the need to make structural changes”

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