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Eye News Desk

Published: 09:37, 26 September 2023

Spain can now focus on football : Aitana Bonmati

Spain's women's team are now able to "focus on football" after weeks of controversy since their World Cup win, says midfielder Aitana Bonmati. Former Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales kissed forward Jenni Hermoso following Spain's win over England on 20 August.

It led to players boycotting the team, while manager Jorge Vilda was sacked and Rubiales eventually resigned. The boycott ended last Wednesday with the team beating Sweden 3-2 on Friday.

That Women's Nations League game was their first since the World Cup final and the first under new head coach Montse Tome.

Most of the players ended the boycott after more than seven hours of talks and the football federation committing to "immediate and profound changes", with the team then flying to Sweden the next day.

"We are setting an example on a sporting and social levels, that men and women should be treated equally," said Uefa Women's Player of the Year and World Cup Golden Ball winner Bonmati, 25.

"The first few days were complicated, with stress, anxiety, but as the days have gone by things have changed. We have now been able to focus on football, which is what we want."

The kiss that shook Spanish and global football
Before Tuesday's game against Switzerland in Cordoba, the Barcelona player added: "We want to get back to normality knowing that there are many things to improve, that have been discussed, and that there are commitments on all sides to make this go better and to leave a good legacy and good conditions for all generations to come.

"[Gender equality] is a global struggle and all the players feel it is a little bit our own. "We are here to play football but we have a loudspeaker and a responsibility to leave football and women in a better place than we found it."

Rubiales' kiss came during the trophy presentation ceremony in Sydney. Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual and filed a legal complaint. Rubiales, who has denied sexually assaulting Hermoso when he appeared in court, has been banned from going within 200 metres of the player.

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