Jenni Hermoso was on Wednesday included in coach Montse Tome’s Spain squad for the first time since the team’s FIFA Women’s World Cup victory in August when former Spanish FA (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales kissed her on the lips during the presentation ceremony.
Hermoso, who plays for Mexican club Pachuca, is part of the squad for Nations League matches against Switzerland and Italy this month.
Rubiales announced his resignation last month after the allegedly unsolicited kiss caused outrage among players, government officials and many in wider Spanish society and raised questions over sexism in sport.
Rubiales has said the kiss was mutual and consensual.
The 33-year-old Hermoso was left out of the squad for Spain’s matches against Sweden and Switzerland in September, with Tome saying she made the decision to “protect her”.
However, Hermoso said last month that her exclusion from the squad showed that nothing had changed at the RFEF even after the resignation of Rubiales, who is under investigation by Spain’s High Court for alleged sexual assault and coercion following a criminal complaint by Hermoso.
“In the last call I explained why she wasn’t there, but after the camp we got in touch. Maybe that opened the door to speculation, but at the time there was no problem with her. We didn’t call her up because we thought it was the best thing for her,” Tome told a press conference on Wednesday.
“I have noticed her improvement. We are excited to see her, for her to return to training and to start thinking about the future as our goal is to be in the Olympic Games.”
After the players boycotted the squad in the wake of the World Cup, the RFEF agreed to make “immediate and profound changes”, with several senior officials asked to leave their posts as part of a deal with the players.
Former Spain coach Jorge Vilda was also sacked last month.
“Changes have been made in the federation and a lot of work is being done. Now we want to think and talk only about football, both myself and the players,” Tome added.
“With regard to this call-up, I did speak to all the players, the relationship with them is good and professional, there is no need to speculate in that sense.”
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