In an expected turn of events, the victorious Spanish Women’s World Cup squad has communicated their decision to the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), they will not be gracing the national team with their presence for the upcoming UEFA Nations League fixtures.
Montse Tome, the newly appointed head coach of La Roja, is slated to unveil her squad for the first pair of international matches following their Women’s World Cup triumph, with matches against Sweden and Switzerland on the horizon. However, the squad announcement has been overshadowed by a startling revelation.
Reports have surfaced indicating that the Women’s World Cup-winning squad has collectively rejected the call-up, citing dissatisfaction with the lack of structural reforms within the organization. These players have officially conveyed their decision to the FA.
Among their stipulated demands for any potential return to the national team are the removal of key figures within the organization, including Secretary General Andreu Camps, head of integrity Miguel García Caba, and individuals within the communications department who were responsible for the unauthorized disclosure of Jenni Hermoso’s erroneous statements following an incident. Ana Alvarez and Rafa Del Amo, who hold pivotal positions in women’s football at the Spanish FA, have also come under scrutiny.
Notably, the 23 stars from the Women’s World Cup campaign have been joined by 12 members of the renowned ‘Las 15,’ who chose to abstain from international call-ups last year, alongside several other prominent Spanish footballers, bringing the total number of dissenting players to 41.
A remarkable 81 players, as indicated by a letter published by the players’ union FutPro last month, have expressed their intention to decline future call-ups until substantive leadership changes are implemented within the Spanish FA.
According to reports, a virtual meeting was convened on Thursday night, during which the players collectively deliberated on their course of action if called up by Tome. This three-hour discussion was marked by the presentation of their compelling arguments and a shared contemplation of not returning until substantial structural changes are enacted within the National Team and the Spanish Football Association (RFEF).
Some notable names involved in this movement include Mapi León, Patri Guijarro, Claudia Pina, Lola Gallardo, Ainhoa Moraza, Amaiur Sarriegi, and Nerea Eizagirre.
It’s worth recalling that the ‘Las 15’ players had previously written to the Spanish FA, asserting their unavailability for selection while Vilda remained in his position. However, the RFEF issued a stern response, characterizing the actions of the selected players as a very serious infraction for refusing to represent the country.
According to the reports, the group of players that convened yesterday intends to jointly communicate their decision to the Spanish FA today. Their objective is to firmly convey their rationale to the federation. The primary grounds for their stance revolve around the treatment they have received from the integrity division, as well as concerns related to the communication, marketing, and football departments. Despite attempts to convince them of forthcoming changes, the players remain skeptical of Rafa del Amo, the president of women’s football at the RFEF, and Ana Álvarez, the director.
Furthermore, the lack of sensitivity displayed towards Jenni Hermoso, coupled with the pressure she faced from Rubiales and the Spanish FA after the Women’s World Cup win, appears to be a decisive factor influencing the squad’s decision. This situation unfolds in the wake of the resignation of former Spain FA president Luis Rubiales, who stepped down after a controversial incident involving the forceful kissing of Spain star Hermoso during the medal ceremony at the 2023 Women’s World Cup final. The ensuing ‘kissgate scandal’ has incited protests and garnered support from players. FIFA initially imposed a 90-day suspension on Rubiales and is now pursuing a longer ban.
Today, the 46-year-old former president has been summoned to Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional, where he will face sexual assault charges before Judge Francisco de Jorge. Additionally, former Spain women’s coach Vilda was dismissed from his position last week and voiced his displeasure, claiming that his removal was unjust.