Spanish Women’s World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso made her triumphant return to the national team’s training on Monday, marking her first appearance with the squad since the controversial resignation of the former president of Spain’s football federation, Luis Rubiales. The 33-year-old football star, who became a symbol in the fight against sexism, garnered global support after an incident in which Rubiales forcibly kissed her on the lips following Spain’s World Cup victory in Sydney on August 20.
Hermoso rejoined Spain’s training session at Las Rozas, just outside Madrid, where she was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of fans, many of them children, who braved inclement weather to show their support for their idol.
Wearing the No. 10 jersey and playing for Pachuca in the Mexican league, Hermoso was called up by coach Montse Tome for the team’s upcoming Nations League matches, scheduled in Italy on Friday and against Switzerland on October 31.
Notably, Hermoso was not included in the initial squad for the coach’s first two matches in charge, with the reasoning given as “the best way to protect her” during a time of crisis within the football federation.
This decision faced criticism from various quarters, including Hermoso herself, who posed the question, “Protect me from what, or from whom?”
Three weeks after the controversial kiss incident, Luis Rubiales resigned from his position. He has since been charged with “sexual assault” by a Spanish court and has been ordered to stay at least 200 meters away from the player. Rubiales, however, maintains that the kiss was consensual.
The scandal also resulted in the dismissal of former coach Jorge Vilda while dozens of Spain’s players, including Hermoso, were on strike, demanding significant changes within the football federation.
A significant development has been reached with the signing of a compromise agreement between the players, the government, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Monday. This agreement sets up a joint commission to act on the arrangements made to end the strike, which involved the majority of the world champions who had gone on strike in September. The move represents an important step in addressing the concerns and demands of the players and promoting a more inclusive and respectful environment within Spanish women’s football.