The players summoned by Montse Tomé meet in the most bitter concentration of the national team

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women's soccer team
Misa Rodríguez and Oihane Hernández leave the hotel towards Barajas airport, already focused on the national team.INMA FLORES

A more uncomfortable announcement of a squad list cannot be remembered in Las Rozas. Never have athletes received the call from the national team with so much bitterness. Not even some soccer players showed up to the appointment with the national team with such long faces.

The vast majority of the Spanish team players did not want to concentrate. Neither in Madrid, where some started, nor in Oliva, where they all met last night in a last-minute change of plans that distanced them from the media focus of Las Rozas, but also from those federation leaders with whom they do not want to deal again since The Rubiales case broke out, since the former president kissed forward Jenni Hermoso without consent and no one within the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) gave the player the minimum space for protection.

The 23 players called up, 19 of whom had signed a statement demanding structural changes in the federation before putting on the red again, were not in the mood. But they responded. All, except Esther González, Gotham player (USA), who was out due to injury. The first to arrive were those who came from Madrid, the last were those who landed from Barcelona, ​​and late, at the Manises airport, including two of the most belligerent with the federation: Patri Guijarro and Mapi León, who did not bite the bullet. language by assuming that she was “forced” to travel.

She and all of them showed up for the appointment after feeling deceived and betrayed (again), forced by circumstances: by a federation that treats them like capricious girls and has not assumed that a facelift and some promises are not enough for them. you are lazy to trust those who have already lied to you before; by a coach who made public opinion believe for a few moments that she had spoken and agreed with them on the suitability of entering the call; by some political representatives who the night before threatened to apply the law – economic sanctions of between 3,000 and 30,000 euros and the loss of license for a period of between 2 and 15 years are contemplated – if the players did not fulfill their commitment to the team national.

They had clearly said that they did not want to be summoned. And to make matters worse, the only one who was not included on the list was Jenni Hermoso. “To protect her,” said the new national coach, Montse Tomé, after stating that she had spoken with her — “We are with Jenni in everything,” she declared — and implying that her absence was consensual. Lie. “To protect myself from what or who?” The soccer player responded from Mexico, where she plays. It was one of many other lies or half-truths in the coach’s first public appearance, which was Jorge Vilda’s second for five years, now dismissed and accused of his friendship with Rubiales.

Tomé’s speech on Monday, in which he resorted to friendly concepts, adapted the tone to the circumstances and alluded to a change in stage, hid many traps. As soon as his press conference ended, what seemed like a change in forms was discovered to be simple makeup. He spoke of empathy, of the importance of communication, of a professional and ambitious work atmosphere. But he had not chatted with the players, at least not with all of them, nor had he listened to them. He had not addressed his discomfort or his need not to return until he felt in a safe work environment. It was certified by the president of the CSD himself, Víctor Francos, after the first conversations with the footballers. “They are wrong. I have seen sadness, regret and tiredness; no resentment, no bad manners. Some player has told me that she is not mentally well. They are tired,” he said in statements to La Sexta.

And he added: “What cannot continue to exist in the federation are behaviors that worry the players and make them afraid. “They don’t finish saying everything because they are afraid of what might happen.” Francos thus alluded, although without giving details, to the threats arising from the federation that those whom they point out as instigators and main actors of the coercion of Hermoso, those whom they want out before continuing to play with the national team, would file a complaint. against the players for defamation. Francos pointed out, without giving his own names, Andreu Camps, general secretary of the RFEF and at one time the right hand of Rubiales, the federation’s strategist, whom the World Cup players fear for their ways and who they believe is also responsible for the first list of Tomé, the latest installment in this complex story full of accusations and betrayals since a year ago 15 athletes promoted a movement to resign from the Spanish women’s soccer team in a frustrated attempt to promote a structural reform of the body that governs Spanish soccer. A year later they have insisted on achieving it.

This new refusal of the players to be called up is explained by the open crisis since former president Luis Rubiales planted a kiss on Jenni Hermoso’s mouth in the middle of the World Cup celebrations. But it also has a lot to do with the immobility and inability of the federation to accept that the footballers and society demand to shake the foundations of a federation governed in a caciquil manner by the territorial leaders, determined to perpetuate their status quo rather than responding to the demands of athletes. Since the Rubiales case, hardly the former president himself, who resigned three weeks later, and the former coach, Jorge Vilda, have left the RFEF, but none of the federation officials whom the footballers point out for their behavior have fallen, those whom They accuse Hermoso of coercion, pressure and sexist ways.

Francos also referred to this: “I have already told Pedro Rocha (interim president) that if there are no deep and structural changes there will not be a good solution to this conflict. I can’t speak more clearly. The change that has begun has no turning back.” And with that commitment he sat at the table with the soccer players – the meeting lasted until after eleven at night – whom he wanted to convince not to give up playing while work continues on a remodeling of the RFEF.

The example of Carlos Alcaraz

Víctor Francos, established as a mediator in the conflict between the Spanish Football Federation and the national team’s players, met upon his arrival in Oliva first with the new national team coach, Montse Tomé, and then, once the group was complete, with the players, whom he listened to and guaranteed profound changes in the federation. Even before traveling to Valencia, Francos had already explained that he hoped to convince Tomé to cancel the call of those players who did not want to travel to Gothenburg (Sweden) for Friday’s Nations League match against Sweden. That way they would not be exposed to a financial penalty and loss of federation license.

The CSD took as a recent example the departure from the Davis Cup team of tennis player Carlos Alcaraz, who said he did not feel fit to compete in the qualifying rounds with Spain after losing in the semifinals of the US Open. David Ferrer, captain of the Davis, immediately removed him from the list without any conflict.

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