Jenny Hermoso has been called up to the Spain squad for the first time since Luis Rubiales kissed her after the Women’s World Cup final, an incident that has sparked an incredibly turbulent period of reckoning and brutality – as well as a criminal investigation.
Hermoso, 33, has been selected by Montse Tome for Spain’s Nations League games against Italy on October 27 and Switzerland on October 31.
Tome’s latest team announcement comes as prosecutors investigating the Rubiales kiss – the former Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president’s sexual assault and coercion charges dismissed – continue to call key witnesses, including Hermoso. Tome, the man replaced by Spain manager Jorge Vilda, is under investigation for coercion along with two other senior officials in the RFEF.
Spain’s final call-up confirmed the start of a week of night meetings, with goal-scoring players tipped to face punishment if they don’t do so when they finally return to the national team. The next two games will not be among such high dramas, but still many key issues will be resolved.
Here, The Athletic explains the whole picture — and what we can expect next.
Hermoso is back
The past few months have not been easy for Hermoso. Sources close to the actress, who, like all the sources cited here, did not want to be named to protect their position, say she suffered a lot and was very vulnerable to Rubiales’ kiss and subsequent fallout. RFEF’s handling of the incident.
Last Monday, Hermoso’s testimony to prosecutors investigating whether the kissing assault was a sex crime was leaked and aired on Spanish TV.
“I don’t deserve to live through all this,” she said in the photo. “Being able to leave the house was very difficult. I had to leave Madrid to avoid that pressure. Why should I cry in class without doing anything?
Hermoso also accused the RFEF of leaving her “off guard.”
“They ruined my name. I felt like no one was waiting for me,” she says. They asked me to look after them, to help them, but I didn’t feel like anyone was looking after me.
Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual, but Rubiales insisted it was and “will continue to defend his position to tell the truth.”
Jenni Hermoso, goalscorer, has scored a series of oaths and a Spanish sports icon.
Hermoso returned to domestic football at Mexican club Pachuca on 18 September when Tomé announced his first Spanish squad. But she was not called. Tome said it was “to protect her”. Hermoso responded by stating that she needed protection “from whom or what.”
At her team’s announcement Wednesday, Tome was eager to focus solely on “sports matters.” Hermoso didn’t want to explain what, if anything, would help explain why he was chosen.
“We talked to her (Hermoso),” Tome said. “We met her when the previous national team camp was over. There was no problem. We decided to call her to protect her, a sporting decision that involved many factors.
“The RFEF is working hard. As the focus is on her, we understand that it is important to think about her. She played two matches after the World Cup, within minutes. It was a unique set of circumstances.
What is the feeling among the Spanish players now?
Most players were disappointed when Tome was named Vilda’s replacement in early September. Tome had no head coaching experience and was an assistant at Vilda. The players felt that she would not be a partner.
Sources close to the players, who were consulted again this week, told The Athletic that most members of the team did not want Thome to be coach and, with RFEF presidential elections coming up in the near future, they thought she would not be around for long.
In her first team selection, most of the squad that called her up had reaffirmed days ago that they would not play for the national team unless significant changes were made to the RFEF. Tome read their names and gave the impression that she had spoken to them all, but this was not the case. It was not revealed that they would be selected further damaging the relationship between Tome and the players.
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The players went into the comeback because they were at least worried that they would be punished if they didn’t stand up. But after a week of meetings and two Nations League wins, they felt progress had been made. Alexia Putelas said the team’s meeting with government officials that week would be seen as a “before and after” moment for women’s sport in Spain.
It came at a price. They are tired. Sources close to the players say the team feels things are starting to change in its first long fight for better working conditions and professional standards. But now they feel the need to sever ties with their movement and take refuge in playing football for a while.
It is not difficult to understand why. Last year was incredibly strong, from the time 15 players withdrew from international selection in September 2022 in protest against Vida’s management and the RFEF leadership, to the World Cup with Vida still in charge and Rubiales kissing on Hermoso. And all that followed. They achieved a lot and were declared as heroes, but the reality destroyed them.
What’s the latest on the Rubiales case?
Spanish prosecutors opened a sexual assault investigation against Rubiales on Aug. 28, and to proceed further, Hermoso asked the victim to testify within 15 days. Hermoso spoke to them eight days later.
Many were called to testify, and the case widened. Vilda was originally called as a witness but is now under investigation for possible coercion, along with men’s national team director Albert Luke and RFEF marketing director Ruben Rivera.
Rubiales was called to testify on September 15. Like Hermoso, his testimony was leaked to the Spanish media.
According to a statement published by El Español, Rubiales said of the kiss on Hermoso: “No one sneaks into the office to forcefully kiss someone, no. It was a natural thing between two people who had been together for so long before millions of eyes.
“How can I apologize if we’re both so happy?”
In her testimony, Hermoso said: “I salute the Queen, I hug her daughter and Rubiale is next.” The first thing I said when I pulled him into a hug was ‘what a mess we’ve made’ and he jumped on top of me and stood firm. When he went down, the only thing I remember saying was, ‘It’s thanks to you that we won this World Cup.’ The next thing I remember is his hands on my head and kisses on my mouth.
The day after the leaked video footage was aired on Spanish TV last week, Hermoso’s legal representatives sent a letter to the investigating judge in charge of the case “to ensure the privacy of the victim and that the witnesses and evidence be properly protected”.
On September 25, the player’s brother Rafael Hermoso came to testify. He was on the plane back with the team after the World Cup final. His testimony was also published in Spanish media this week. Prosecutors questioned whether the RFEF tried to pressure Rubiale to ease public pressure on kissing his sister.
In a statement published by El Español again, Rafael Hermoso Vilda appeared on the plane and said: “The President (Rubiales) sent me to convince your sister before entering Doha that she should come out with him and make a statement.”
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According to additional media in Spain, Vilda denied this when he appeared before prosecutors on October 10 when he was questioned about the case.
Three of Jenni Hermoso’s team-mates have testified so far, and many more important figures in Spanish football are due to appear next month, including Spain’s men’s team manager Luis de la Fuente. RFEF director of football Luke, who played for Newcastle from 2005-2007, has been delayed twice.
In early October, a WhatsApp message exchange from Luque to Hermoso’s friend was published in El Mundo, in which the RFEF figure was reported to have said of her that she “doesn’t deserve anything because of her humanity.”
Hermoso is scheduled to testify further, though no date has been set.
Also to watch are:
Patricia Perez, former head of media for the RFEF Women’s National Team Miguel García Caba, fired in September as RFEF Director of Integrity, fired in September as RFEF Director of Communications, Enrique Yunta, Deputy Director of Communications at the RFEF Javier Lopez Vallejo, psychologist of the Women’s National Team Jose Maria Timon, former head of Rubiales Javier Puyol, head of RFEF compliance Rafael del Amo, president of the RFEF National Women’s Football Committee Laia Codina, Spain and Arsenal centre-back
What action did the RFEF take?
In September, when Spain’s players were called up for the national team for the first time since winning the World Cup, Victor Francos, president of the Consejo Super de Deportes (CSD – the government body responsible for sports affairs), traveled to meet the team. .
Afterwards, he said progress had been made in “friendly and constructive” talks between the RFEF, CSD, players and Tome. The result of these discussions will include a new commission formed by representatives of all parties “to follow up on the agreements we have reached,” he said.
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In a recent interview with The Athletic, Francos said that more details about these deals will be known in the coming days.
During that meeting at the Spanish camp in September, Vilda was sacked as manager. His dismissal was described in the RFEF statement as “one of the first measures of renewal announced by President Pedro Rocha”.
Shortly after the meeting, Andrew Campos was fired as RFEF Secretary General and García was removed from the position of Director of Integrity. A week later, Communications Director Cuervo was also fired.
Who will be the next president of RFEF? And what’s next for the Rubiales?
Rocha in 2010 He is serving as RFEF president following Rubiales’ provisional 90-day ban handed down by FIFA on August 26. Final decision on this matter”.
The RFEF It wants to hold fresh elections in the first quarter of 2024. However, a recent complaint by long-time RFEF critic Miguel Angel Galan could pose a challenge to that plan, and could force elections to be held sooner.
As for Rubiales, he remains suspended from all football activities due to a FIFA ban. He officially resigned as RFEF president on September 10, ending a dramatic few weeks in which he refused to do so despite intense international pressure.
Spain’s Administrative Sports Court (TAD) opened its own investigation into Rubiales, but said it considered Rubiales’ actions to be of a “serious” nature, as opposed to “extremely serious”. The maximum punishment for a “serious” case is a two-year ban, while a “very serious” investigation is a punishment of up to five years.
Full Spain squad:
Goalkeepers: Misa Rodriguez, Kata Cole, Enit Salon
Defenders: Ona Battle, Oihan Hernandez, Irene Paredes, Ivana Andres, Laia Alexandri, Maria Mendez, Olga Carmona.
Midfielders: Terre Abelera, Pretty Jenny, Mayte Oroz, Aitana Bonmati, Alexia Putelas, Ana Toroda.
Forwards: Salma Paralulo, Mariona Caldente, Inma Gabbaro, Amayur Sarigi, Athena del Castillo, Esther Gonzalez, Lucia Garcia.
(Top photo: Mark Atkins/Getty Images)