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Spanish footballers end boycott after federation commits to making immediate changes

Spanish footballers end boycott after federation commits to making immediate changes

(CNN) — The conflict between the Spanish women’s football team and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) appears to have reached a turning point after the two sides, along with the government’s Supreme Sports Council (CSD), reached a series of agreements.

Earlier this week, 20 players called up by the national team reiterated their refusal to play in the next two matches in the Women’s UEFA Nations League, including Friday’s match against Sweden.

However, 21 of the 23 players selected for the upcoming matches have agreed to play and will travel to Sweden, according to a statement from CSD president Viktor Francos.

Barcelona players, Maby León and Patricia Guijarro, asked to leave the team, claiming that their situation “is different from that of the rest of their teammates.”

Francos told reporters in the early hours of Wednesday that a “very strong agreement” had been reached between all parties and promised to make immediate changes in Spanish football regarding “gender equality policies, promoting equal pay, and progressing in the equality of the quality of the sport’s infrastructure.” In this case, women’s football.

He added that the players would not face any penalties after they initially refused to play in the next two matches.

“The players also expressed their concern about the need to make changes in the Royal Spanish Football Federation and the Federation is committed to making these changes immediately. You will all understand that, in this case, the Federation will make a statement on this matter,” Francos said. Press in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Both sides (…) have reached a point where what could have been a disaster will not be, and what could have been bad news does not appear to be,” Francos said.

A joint committee will also be created including representatives of the players, the Spanish Football Federation and the Sustainable Development Committee to implement the new changes in the future.

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He said, “We have agreed in this committee on powers that include all the points that… [las jugadoras] “They have been demanding for a long time, such as changes to the women’s football body, the women’s football strategic plan and the rest of the changes we have been talking about these days,” said Amanda Gutierrez, president of the players’ union. He told the press on Wednesday FUTPRO.

Montse Tomé, who replaced Jorge Villeda as president of the women’s national team after the Rubiales controversy, will continue in her position after meeting privately with the players, according to Rafael del Amo, head of women’s football at the Spanish Federation.

Asked about Tommy’s misleading comments in his press conference on Monday regarding Gheni Hermoso’s absence from the team to “protect” the player, Del Amo told reporters: “I think at this moment we have to protect her from the pressures that may arise.” In the end, she is a player we trust. In full. We believe this is the case and we must respect it.”

Tommy had chosen the squad for the upcoming matches against Sweden and Switzerland, despite the players expressing their “firm desire not to be called up for justified reasons.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday about leaving the national team with Guijarro, Leon said: “It is true that my situation and Patry are different from that of the rest of my teammates.”

“We know that there are no ways or means to return (…) This is a process. We are happy because it is also true that changes are happening. We have arrived at another port. Changes are happening little by little and we fully support our colleagues as we have been doing from outside all this time.

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For his part, Guijarro said: “They are working on those changes and we are with our colleagues, but yes, it is true that they have not been implemented yet, but they are working on them.”

“It’s very difficult to be here, and with the way everything has happened, you’re not in a position to be here mentally.”

Both Leon and Guijarro are part of a group of players dubbed ‘The 15’ who have been in conflict with the Spanish Football Federation for over a year and the vast majority of whom were left out of the World Cup squad in July and August.

Jennifer Hermoso, of the Spanish women’s soccer team, on August 20, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo: Elsa – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

How did we get here?

Wednesday’s announcement is the latest development in a long saga between players from the Spanish women’s national team, which won its first Women’s World Cup title last month, and the Spanish Football Federation.

Tensions escalated between the two parties after Luis Rubiales, the former president of the Spanish Football Federation, gave an unwanted kiss to Spanish player Jennifer Hermoso during the medal ceremony for the World Cup final in Sydney.

Rubiales resigned from his position, and the Spanish National Court continues to investigate possible accusations of sexual assault and coercion against him, which Spanish prosecutors deny to CNN.

The players’ dissatisfaction with the federation dates back to more than a year ago, when 15 members of the first women’s team (“Las 15”) sent personally signed letters to the Spanish Football Federation, stating that they would not play for the team again. National unless there are radical changes in the entire technical staff.

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Of the 15 players who signed the letters, only three were part of the Spanish World Cup squad: Mariona Caldente, Aitana Bonmati and Una Battle. This trio was included in the Tommy call-up announced on Monday, alongside Leon and Guijarro.

Despite these additional sporting problems, the young Spanish team had an impressive Women’s World Cup campaign in Australia and New Zealand, defeating England in the final to win their first title.

Rubiales’ performance during the medal ceremony and the aftermath overshadowed the achievement, which culminated in the leader’s resignation as president of the Spanish Football Federation on September 11.

However, now that Villeda and Rubiales have left their positions, the Spanish Football Federation is hoping to start a new chapter in women’s football.

Before announcing the list of summonses, he issued a statement on Monday confirming his commitment to implementing changes in the organization.

The statement said: “It is clear that the federation, the community and the players themselves are aligned with the same goal: renewal and the beginning of a new era in which football will be the biggest winner in this entire process.”

The men’s and women’s teams will be renamed “Spanish Football Team”.

The Spanish Football Federation announced the change of name of the women’s and men’s national teams, referring to both from now on as the “Spanish Football Team”.

a launch The press release issued by the Spanish Football Federation on Wednesday says that the unique branding of the “Spanish Football Team” will fit the men’s and women’s national teams.

“More than just a symbolic step, we want this to represent a change in perception, that football is football, regardless of who plays it,” Spanish Football Federation President Pedro Rocha said in a statement.