In spite of months of strife and division, Spain overcame it on Sunday to win the Women’s World Cup, overcoming a player uprising that cost La Roja some of its greatest players even before the competition began.
A bright collection of young players shown the resilience and skill necessary to put all the issues to one side and win Spain’s first significant title despite the fact that one of the world’s strongest and most exciting teams was missing some important players.
But following their 1-0 victory over England in Sydney, the winners did not name their teammates who stayed at home as the world’s media clamoured for interviews.
Twelve of the 15 players who participated in the mutiny but were ultimately left off Spain’s World Cup roster made the decision to remain silent, refusing to participate in interviews and omitting all mention of the Women’s World Cup from their personal social media profiles.
For the players who informed the Spanish FA (RFEF) in September of last year that they were leaving the squad while longtime coach Jorge Vilda was in charge, there were no signals of encouragement, sympathy, or thanks. This caused tension in the locker room.
15 players wrote to RFEF President Luis Rubiales, requesting 15 modifications to the team’s organizational structure.
The campaign suffered because none of the players openly stated what their demands were, just denying that they had requested for Vilda to be dismissed, even though there was never any evidence of inappropriate behavior.
The RFEF supported Vilda during the most difficult times of the uprising, and he expelled the disputing players from his team.
Eight of the 15 withdrew a few months later, requesting to be reintegrated, but Vilda only had room for three of the players in his World Cup squad: Ona Battle, Mariona Caldentey, and best player of the competition Aitana Bonmati.
The 12 players excluded included well-known names like Sandra Panos, Patri Guijarro, Mapi Leon, and Claudia Pina, who were crucial to Barcelona’s successful Champions League winning campaign.
Through their agents, the players were reached by Reuters, but they declined to comment.
Carlota Planas, a Spanish agent, told Reuters that the uprising had a significant impact on Spain’s World Cup triumph. Planas also represents world champions Mariona Caldentey, Cata Coll, and four of the players who were left behind: Pina, Guijarro, Lola Gallardo, and Leila Aouhabi.
Planas remarked that the RFEF “certainly would not have even considered making any improvements at all without them and their bravery.”
Some of their requests, such as changes in the rehabilitation department and better travel arrangements for them and their families, were granted. Their demands related to better working conditions.
According to Planas, some players were happy that some of the demands had been met and made apologies with the RFEF, but others did not change their minds and insisted that it was not enough.
After observing Spain’s triumphant championship defense from a distance, Planas described the mental condition of her clients as being “at peace with their decision because they believe it was the right thing to do.”
Everyone aspires to be world champions, but they also understand the gravity of the battle at hand.
Laia Aleixandri of Manchester City and Lucia Garcia of Manchester United are both represented by Marta Diaz of BePlayer Agency. Marta Diaz emphasized the importance of the mutiny in changing the Spanish FA for the better.
“The improvements and successes speak for themselves. The outcomes we are witnessing are made feasible by the new measures in combination with the players’ abilities, Diaz told Reuters.
“We have had some of the top players in the world on our team for a long time, but the RFEF will never acknowledge that following the media attention the matter received last year, it woke up, started to take a true interest in, and invested in, women’s football.
“The players are fighting a giant in a lost effort.
The players who gave everything up for a cause they believed in are still being attacked, insulted, and made fun of by many segments of society who are unwilling to stop stoking the embers of such an unfair conflict.