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Several striking Spain players arrive for national team camp

Six Spain players arrived at a Madrid hotel to join their women’s national team camp on Tuesday, five of whom are currently striking over changes they want made in the Spanish football federation (RFEF).

Spain’s women’s World Cup final-winning goalscorer Olga Carmona and four others presented themselves, along with Athenea del Castillo, who is not on strike, while other players are expected to join up later for the camp in Oliva according to Spanish media reports.

New Spain coach Montse Tome named a surprise 23-woman squad on Monday for upcoming Nations League qualifiers including 20 players who said they were striking until further changes were made in the RFEF.

Disgraced president Luis Rubiales resigned and controversial coach Jorge Vilda was sacked, but many players want more wide-ranging improvements after the kiss scandal which rocked Spanish football.

Rubiales forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain won the World Cup in Sydney on August 20, provoking worldwide outrage.

As many as 39 players are on strike against the RFEF but they were told by the government early Tuesday that those who did not attend the team’s camps when called up would have to be punished.

Victor Francos, the president of Spain’s High Council for Sports (CSD), said he would have to apply the country’s sports law.

“If they don’t turn up, the government would have to apply the law, which is a pity for me, but the law is the law,” Francos told radio station Cadena Ser.

Spain’s sports law from 2022 states that athletes must attend the call-ups of the national teams when summoned, and not doing so would be a “very serious” infraction.

The potential fines range between 3,000 and 30,000 euros ($3,200 to $32,100), while they could also lose their licenses to play altogether, for up to five years.

The decision on a potential punishment would be made by Spain’s top sports court at the request of the CSD.

Spain play Sweden on September 22 and Switzerland on September 26 in the Nations League.

The eventual finalists of the Nations League will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.

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