Spain Selects Jenni Hermoso for the First Time Since the Controversial Kiss Scandal

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Spain Selects Jenni Hermoso for the First Time Since the Controversial Kiss Scandal

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Spain Women’s Squad Welcomes Jenni Hermoso After Unsolicited Kiss Controversy

Jenni Hermoso, who plays for Mexican side Pachuca, has been included in the Spain women’s squad by new coach Montse Tome. This marks Hermoso’s return to the national team for the first time since the controversy surrounding an unsolicited kiss from former federation president Luis Rubiales after the Women’s World Cup final in Australia. The 33-year-old midfielder was added to the squad for upcoming matches against Switzerland and Italy in the Nations League.

The scandal erupted when Rubiales forcibly kissed Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony following Spain’s victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final on August 20. Rubiales, who was the head of the Spanish football federation (RFEF) at the time, resigned amid public outrage over the incident. This event also led to 39 players boycotting the national team to demand changes.

Rubiales maintained that the kiss was mutual and consensual, while Hermoso asserted it was done without her consent.

The fallout from the controversy resulted in the dismissal of coach Jorge Vilda, who was replaced by Montse Tome, his assistant.

Last month, Tome omitted Hermoso, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, from her initial squad, citing the decision was made to “protect her.” However, this decision faced criticism from both players and Hermoso herself.

Tome defended the initial decision at a news conference, stating that the omission was intended to safeguard Hermoso at that time, as there was no issue with her. She acknowledged that she had spoken with Hermoso and noted the player’s improved form, having scored three times in four games. Tome expressed her anticipation of having Hermoso back in the squad for the upcoming matches against Italy and Switzerland.

Spain is set to play against Italy on October 27 and Switzerland on October 31. The team currently leads their group with two wins from two matches and aims to secure a spot in the finals.

In addition to Hermoso, three other players who were left out of the previous squad due to injuries, namely Esther Gonzalez, Ivana Andres, and Salma Paralluelo, have also been given the green light to return.

Luis Rubiales faced legal proceedings last month over a complaint of sexual assault related to the kiss. Under recent amendments to the Spanish penal code, a non-consensual kiss can be categorized as sexual assault, which encompasses all forms of sexual violence, with penalties ranging from fines to up to four years in prison.

Rubiales is additionally accused of “coercion” for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to defend him publicly immediately after the controversy arose. Hermoso reported that she had been repeatedly urged by federation officials to downplay the incident and support Rubiales.

Hermoso clarified that she did not consent to the kiss and did not seek to encourage the president’s actions during her interactions with prosecutors. The revelations from Hermoso’s meeting with prosecutors were leaked and aired on private television Telecinco earlier this month.

[Please note that this article has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.]

Reference:

https://sports.ndtv.com/football/spain-call-up-jenni-hermoso-for-first-time-since-forced-kiss-scandal-4494673

https://www.aljazeera.com/sports/2023/10/18/spain-call-up-jenni-hermoso-for-first-time-since-world-cup-kiss-scandal

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