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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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