In a move many say is inspired by the USWNT and Megan Rapinoe’s fight for equal pay, 15 women soccer players have sent an email to the Spanish Football Federation renouncing playing for the Spanish team. In their letter, they claim that they are in emotional distress following president Luis Rubiales’ refusal to not fire manager Jorge Vila.
After the last call-up, many of Spain’s female stars asked for Vilda’s dismissal. Nothing happened, however, and the captains and the coach gave a joint press conference and played the two games that closed the qualifying group for the 2023 World Cup.
Interestingly, Ballon d’Or Alexia Putellas, nor any Real Madrid players are amongst the 15 players who demanded Jorge Vilda’s sacking.
With today’s unprecedented developments, the wound is more open than ever and 15 players have decided to give up playing with the Spanish team due to the Federation’s decision to continue employing Vilda.
The 15 players who have quit the Spanish National team
- Ainhoa Vicente Moraza
- Patri Pebble
- Leila Ouahabi
- Lucia Garcia
- Mapi Leon
- Ona Batlle
- Laia alexandri
- Claudia Pina
- Aitana Bonmati
- Andrea Pereira
- Mariona Caldentey
- Sandra Paos
- Lola Gallardo
- Nerea Eizaguirre
- Amaiur Sarriegi
Jorge Vilda’s contract runs until 2024 and Luis Rubiales has at no time considered dismissing the coach. In fact, the Federation has released a statement making the situation clear and what it thinks about the players’ ultimatum, something that is considered unacceptable by the federation leaders.
We must remember that next summer, in 2023, there will be a Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, a World Cup for which Spain is already qualified. The next commitments of the Women’s National Team are in a few days. Spain plays a friendly against Sweden on October 7 at the Nuevo Arcngel in Cordoba, Spain, and another against the US Women’s National Team on the 11th at El Sadar in Pamplona.
The Spanish Federation’s (RFEF) official statement
The Royal Spanish Football Federation acknowledges that it has received 15 emails from 15 players of the Spanish Women’s Soccer Team. In the e-mails they state that the current situation significantly affects their “emotional state” and their “health” and that, “as long as it is not reversed”, they resign from the Spanish national team.
The RFEF is not going to allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their authority. The Federation will not admit any type of pressure from any player when dealing with athletic decisions. These types of maneuvers are far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sport, and are harmful.
In accordance with current Spanish legislation, not attending a national team call is classified as a very serious infraction and can carry sanctions of between 2 and 5 years of disqualification. The RFEF, contrary to the way these players act, wants to make it clear that it will not take matters to this extreme. Instead, it will not call up the soccer players who do not want to wear the Spain shirt. The Federation will only have committed footballers, even if they have to play with youth players.
This fact has gone from being a sporting issue to a dignity issue. The National Team is non-negotiable. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football, both male and female, in Spain and worldwide.
The present and future of Spain lies in the potential of the lower categories and of players who this summer have been proclaimed U-20 world champions and U-19 European champions, in addition to being runners up at the European U-17 youth Championship.
Lastly, the players who have offered their resignation will only return to the discipline of the National Team in the future if they accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness.