Spain’s women footballers are resigning en masse to oust the national team coach


Fifteen of Spain’s top female footballers resigned from the Spanish national team on Thursday, claiming in emails that the situation surrounding the team had “significantly” affected their “emotional state” and “health”, Spanish Football Federation RFEF said in a statement .

The resignations come weeks after some Spanish stars allegedly urged head coach Jorge Vilda to resign and urged RFEF President Luis Rubiales to fire Vilda. Both men reportedly refused.

On Thursday, the RFEF said the larger group of players had sent 15 identical emails to the federation, saying they would no longer play for the national team until the situation “reversed”.

However, the RFEF said it would stand firm. It said in its press release that it would not “allow players to question the continuity” of Vilda and his staff and would not give in to “any kind of pressure”.

It described the resignations as a “very serious breach” that could ban the players from national team selection for two to five years.

among the Players who have reportedly resigned are several core members of the FC Barcelona squad who went unbeaten in Spain’s Primera División Femenina last season and other core members of the Spanish squad who entered Euro 2022 as favourites.

One month later La Rojaas the team is known, lost to England in the Euro quarter-finals, the players reportedly got together and decided, with the support of most, but not all, to push for Vilda’s exit.

Spain lost to England in the quarter-finals of the 2022 Women’s Euro. (Photo by Jose Hernandez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Vilda was promoted to the job in 2015 after a separate player revolt ousted former coach Ignacio Quereda – who had nurtured an abusive culture of fear and intimidation but was retained by the RFEF until players spoke up.

Initial reports of the revolt against Vilda last month suggested that the players’ reasoning was rooted in Vilda’s football tactics, decisions and results. However, in Thursday’s emails, players mentioned their “emotional state,” according to RFEF. (The players have not yet publicly announced their retirement.)

The national team’s next two games are scheduled for October 7 and 11, two friendlies on home soil against Sweden and the United States. These are two preparations for next summer’s Women’s World Cup, for which Spain has qualified.

The RFEF said in its Thursday statement that “the players who have submitted their resignation will only return to the national team in the future if they accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.

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