Jenni Hermoso SpainGetty

'Protect me from what?' - Jenni Hermoso slams RFEF 'strategy for manipulation & division' as Spain World Cup winner rubbishes Montse Tome's explanation for her national team omission

The World Cup winner, who has found herself at the centre of a sporting and political storm after savouring global glory in Australia, is among those to have removed themselves for consideration for call-ups to the Spanish national team.

That decision was taken after she was kissed by former RFEF president Luis Rubiales during the medal ceremony which followed Spain's 1-0 victory over England in a FIFA showpice in Sydney.

Some 81 players, including all 23 members of the victorious 2023 World Cup squad, indicated that they would not represent the national team for as long as Rubiales remained at the helm.

Article continues below

He eventually resigned from his post, but mutiny in the camp continues as sweeping change is demanded.

New head coach Montse Tome – who has replaced the ousted Jorge Vilda – has selected 15 of those that were apparently unavailable in her squad for a meeting with Sweden in UEFA Nations League competition.

Hermoso, who has returned to action at Mexican club side Pachuca, is not among those to have been called up.

Tome said when facing the media: “We stand with Jenni... we believe that the best way to protect her is like this, but we are counting on Jenni.”

Hermoso has responded to those comments in a social media statement that claims players had been “caught be surprise” by their selection and that “another unfortunate situation” has been caused “by the people who continue to make decisions within the RFEF”.

Hermoso said when addressing the protection comment: “A claim was made today stating that the environment within the federation would be safe for my colleagues to rejoin, yet at the press conference it was announced that they were not calling me as a means to protect me.

“Protect me from what? And from whom?”

The 33-year-old also said in a passionate statement: “The players are certain that this is yet another strategy of division and manipulation to intimidate and threaten us with legal repercussion and economic sanctions.

“It is yet more irrefutable proof that shows that even today, nothing has changed.”

The players refusing to play for the national team face the threat of fines up to €30,000 and the suspension of their federation license for a period of between two and 15 years under Spain’s Sports Act – with Victor Francos, the head of Spain’s government national sports agency, saying that if performers did not turn up then “the government must apply the law”.