Spanish women's national soccer team players refuse to play

The same day, Luis Rubiales, the former president of the soccer federation, testified before a National Court judge assuring that the kiss he gave Jenni Hermoso was consensual.

The Women's World Cup champions will not return to the Spanish national team. The players announced that they will refuse to play in the midst of the scandal regarding the kiss given by the former president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation to forward Jenni Hermoso.

According to Spanish media, the players sent a letter to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Thursday, which was made public through a statement on Friday. The players ask for changes and deeper restructuring of the federation in order to return to the field. The letter, signed by almost 40 athletes, calls to restructure the women's soccer administration; as well as the cabinet of the presidency, the general secretary of the federation, the communication, marketing and the integrity department.

The reshuffles and resignations within the federation were not enough for the athletes. President Luis Rubiales resigned and now must appear in Spanish court. The coach of the team, Jorge Vilda, was replaced by a woman, Montse Tomé, who is expected to announce her first selection this Friday.

According to the sports newspaper Relevo, players who do not respond to the call to the national team run the risk of sanctions from the federation. Both Spanish sports laws and the RFEF regulations set these sanctions, which can range from fines to the temporary loss of the federation license for the athlete in question.

Rubiales in court

The former president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, appeared this Friday before the National Court in Madrid before Judge Francisco de Jorge to be investigated on charges of sexual assault and coercion. The Prosecutor's Office requested precautionary measures against Rubiales. It demands that Rubiales appear in court every 15 days in addition to keeping a distance of at least 500 meters (1,640 feet) from and stopping all communication with Hermoso.

According to Spanish media, Rubiales testified before the judge of the National Court that at no time did he coerce Jenni Hermoso to kiss him. He claimed that the famous kiss was mutually consensual. This is the version of events that the former president has told to the media since the start of the controversy.