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Spain players rejoin national team amid dispute: What to know

Alexia Putellas, Jenni Hermoso and Irene Paredes celebrate Spain's World Cup victory. (Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Despite Spain players’ plans to strike, selected players have arrived at their national team camp following threats of a fine or a domestic league ban. But what does it all mean? And how did we get here?

Just Women’s Sports is breaking down the major storylines as Spain players continue to be at odds with their federation.

What has happened so far?

  • Spain players reported for national team duty Tuesday despite saying Friday that they would not return to the national team until further changes were made. Nothing about that stance had changed from Friday to Monday, when Spain announced its squad for upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland.
  • Of the 23 players selected to the roster, 15 were present at the 2023 World Cup and 21 signed the statement last week demanding action from the Spanish football federation (RFEF). The team has been embroiled in controversy since its World Cup title win on Aug. 20.
  • If the players refused their call-ups, they could have faced fines of up to €30,000 and a ban of their federation license for up to 15 years, among other possible sanctions. While they tried to get out of the training camp, saying the RFEF did not inform them in a timely manner per FIFA rules, they did show up Tuesday.

What have players said?

  • Asked by reporters Tuesday if the players were in agreement with head coach Montse Tomé’s squad list, goalkeeper Misa Rodríguez simply said: “No.”
  • Jenni Hermoso was not called up to the squad, a decision she saw as a manipulative move by the RFEF and a sign that “nothing has changed,” she said in a statement. Hermoso received a nonconsensual kiss from former RFEF president Luis Rubiales at the 2023 World Cup final, which spurred a tidal wave of backlash from Spain’s players and the global soccer community. Rubiales has since resigned.
  • Mapi Léon refused a World Cup call-up as one of the original 15 players to protest the federation starting last October, but she was called up Monday. She said Tuesday: “We would have to talk at length about whether the place is safe or not safe when they are forcing us. I believe that my position has been very clear, at no time have I changed my mind.”

What comes next?

  • Victor Francos, the president of the supreme council for sports in Spain, confirmed the possible sanctions for players if they did not participate in the camp and ensuing friendlies. The sports council is expected to act as a mediator between players and the federation. “If the players don’t show up, the government will do what it has to do, which is to apply the law,” Francos said. “Unfortunately, the law is the law, but I still hope that there can be a solution. I am going to talk with the players. I am going to try.”