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Some of Spain’s striking female footballers turn up for international duty amid punishment threats

Some of Spain's striking female footballers turn up for international duty amid punishment threats

Six Spanish international footballers — five of whom have been on strike since the scandal involving former head of the Spanish football association Luis Rubiales — turned up for a training session in Madrid on Tuesday after previously stating they were unwilling to play.

Real Madrid’s Olga Carmona, who scored the winning goal against England in the World Cup final on 20 August, and four other striking internationals, joined their coach and her staff at a hotel near Madrid airport, according to reports. 

All were signatories to a statement issued on Friday, in which 39 players, including almost all of the world champions, announced that the conditions were not right for them to play again for Spain. 

After the resignation of Luis Rubiales, following his alleged forced kissing of star player Jenni Hermoso, and the dismissal of coach Jorge Vilda, they are calling for far-reaching structural changes within the Spanish Football Federation.

A sixth player, Athenea del Castillo, who is not on strike, also turned up on Monday, while her other team-mates are expected at the Oliva camp near Valencia, according to the Spanish press, to prepare for Thursday’s Nations League match in Sweden.

Will all the strikers accept their call-up? «Yes», assured coach Montse Tomé on her arrival at the hotel, having sprung a surprise on Monday by announcing a list comprising fifteen world champions and other players who had asked not to be selected pending a complete overhaul of the Federation.

In the evening, the international players reaffirmed their desire not to be called up, while saying they were assessing the «possible legal consequences» of refusing to answer the call.

However, they faced threats of sanctions from the President of the Spanish Supreme Sports Council (CSD), Victor Francos.

The Spanish law on sport for 2022 stipulates that failure to attend national team summonses constitutes a «very serious» offence, he pointed out.

Potential fines range from €3,000 to €30,000, and players can even lose their licence for up to five years.

«If the players don’t show up, the government has to apply the law. I’m sorry to say it like this, but we have to do what we have to do,» Victor Francos said on Monday night.

Francos will now meet with the players to try and resolve the crisis, sources close to the CSD said.

Spain are due to face Sweden on Friday and Switzerland on September 26 in the Nations League, a qualifying tournament for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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