Spain women’s coach set to speak on eve of Sweden game amid month-long crisis at Spanish federation

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BARCELONA, Spain –


Spain’s new women’s coach Montse Tome is set to hold a news conference in Gothenburg on Thursday, a day before her soccer team tries to put off-field distractions aside to play Sweden in the Nations League.


It will be the first game since the Spanish federation was rocked by a scandal caused by its former president Luis Rubiales kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following its Women’s World Cup triumph.


Tome will be accompanied by Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas and veteran defender Irene Paredes at the news conference.


All the focus remains on the turmoil engulfing the Spanish federation amid a push by its women players to force deep reform to eliminate what they consider to be deeply rooted sexism in the institution that runs Spanish soccer.


Tome, who replaced the fired Jorge Vidal, is now under scrutiny after having called up players, including 15 World Cup winners, after they had said they did not want to play for the federation until reforms were made.


The players turned up for training camp in Valencia on Tuesday, but it required Spain’s secretary of state for sports to step in and personally mediate between the federation and players to get most of the players to stay. Two players did leave the team after assurances were given that they would not be punished with fines or bans from playing for their clubs, as could have been the case according to Spain’s sports law.


The agreement reached early Wednesday morning after a meeting that lasted all night was not made public by the federation, players or government. But the federation took only a few hours before announcing that its secretary general, Andreu Camps, was being relieved of his duties. Camps was considered to be close to Rubiales.


Spanish politicians, soccer clubs and players, along with many fans, have supported the players in their clash with the federation. The government and women’s rights groups have characterized it as a “Me Too” movement in Spanish soccer.


Spain will play Sweden in a rematch of the World Cup semifinal game that Spain won before beating England in the final.


Rubiales, who finally resigned amid massive pressure from the government and FIFA, is facing a judicial investigation of accusations that he sexually assaulted Hermoso by kissing her against her will during the award ceremony for the Aug. 20 World Cup final. He is also accused of coercion for allegedly having pressured Hermoso into publicly supporting him. He denies the claims.


The National Court investigating the case has summoned four employees of the federation to give testimony in the coming days, the court said Thursday.


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AP soccer:

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