Jenni Hermoso has been left out of the Spain squad for the Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland.
Since winning the World Cup last month, Spanish football has endured a tumultuous and dramatic period after disgraced former president Luis Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips the day after their final victory over England .
He ultimately resigned from his position, despite being accused of sexual assault and coercion, while controversial former manager Jorge Vilda was sacked from his position.
There was even more drama last week when 39 players signed a statement insisting they would not be available for selection until changes were made to the national team structure and of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This came after a total of 81 players signed a letter last month stating they would reject the call-up until there was a change of direction within the Spanish FA.
However, new boss Montse Tome named his squad for the international break and included 15 of the World Cup winners, but not Hermoso.
The Spanish Federation has summoned 15 of the World Cup winners, but not Jenni Hermoso.
Speaking after his team announcement, Tome said: “We are with Jenni and with all the players. As for Jenni, we thought the best way to protect her in this team was this way.
Tome also hinted at a breakthrough with his furious players after announcing his squad while reflecting on the surprising 15-man selection.
She added: “We lived through a special situation and we experienced something exceptional.
“The Federation has worked to talk to them and work with them and we are very excited about where we are right now in the Nations League.”
She continued: “I have worked with them (the players) for five years, albeit in a different role, and I have always felt their trust.
‘I feel good. I have always been in the shadows but I have confidence in my work and I want to do things well and work.
“I love what I do, we have the best footballers in the world and we cannot be forgotten. We are in a change in the structure of the Federation and I have the greatest confidence that we can get it right and that our players are in a climate of trust and security.
Tome was expected to announce his team on Friday before the players released the aforementioned statement which read: “The changes being made are not enough to ensure that players feel safe, women are respected, women’s football is supported and we can maximize our potential.
“The players of the Spanish team have always been open to dialogue, seeking to express the clear and argued reasons that we believe are necessary to be able to carry out our work at the highest level with the respect we deserve.
“The changes specified to the RFEF are based on zero tolerance towards people who, from a position within the RFEF, have engaged in, instigated, hidden or applauded attitudes that go against the dignity of women.
“We firmly believe that profound changes are necessary in the management positions of the RFEF and in particular in the field of women’s football.
“We want to end this statement by affirming that the players of the Spanish team are professionals and that what fills us most with pride is wearing the jersey of our national team and leading our country to the highest positions.”
“We believe it is time to fight to show that these situations and practices have no place in football or in society, that the current structure needs changes and we are doing it so that the next generations can have equality in football and at the level that we all deserve.
The selection of the 15 World Cup winners in the team comes after Marca reported on Monday how the RFEF had launched a public and written commitment to renewal and change within the national team.
The report said it was a last-ditch attempt to get some stars to reverse their decisions.
Tome’s comments at his press conference suggest that this attempt has been successful in some quarters, with the RFEF ensuring “a secure environment and commitment to a climate of mutual trust”.
The full statement read: “The RFEF wants to convey to the internationals of the national team the public commitment acquired by the new management of the institution that governs football in Spain. The objective is to express clearly and without internal or external interpretations, the strategic axes of this new stage of the Federation, which football and society demand.
“The Federation itself is aware of the need to make structural changes, as already announced by the President of the Management Commission, Pedro Rocha, and which has recently begun to materialize. This conviction has led to difficult decisions being made in recent days, which will continue to be adopted, given that there is a conviction that a renewal is necessary.
“In this sense, it is absolutely essential to make these changes, to clarify each of the behaviors and conduct that may have occurred and, therefore, to act with professionalism and justice, defining the relevant responsibilities in each case.”
“It is obvious that the Federation, society and the players themselves are aligned on the same objective: renewal and the start of a new stage where football is the great beneficiary of this whole process. This is why the Players are invited to join in this change led by the Federation, knowing that the transformations which must continue must be solid and equitable.
We guarantee a safe environment for the players and we are committed to a climate of mutual trust so that we can work together and ensure that women’s football continues to progress much stronger. “We need to start showing the star that the internationals have worked so hard to achieve.”
Among the original 39 who signed Friday’s letter insisting they would not play for Spain until changes were made, the 23 World Cup stars would have been joined by 12 of the famous “Las 15”.
They chose to go into exile following an international call-up last year after writing to the Spanish Federation claiming they would not be available for selection as long as Vilda remained in her position.
But the RFEF issued a strongly worded statement in response, saying the selected players had committed a “very serious offense” by refusing to play for the country.