After being called up against their will to play for the women’s national team, Spain players Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes announced on Thursday that the majority of the team decided to remain in order to bring about reform within the Spanish football association.
For their next Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland, players who were intimidated by possible punishments only reported for duty on Tuesday. New coach Montse Tome chose an almost all striking team.
Following an intervention by the Spanish government, the players and the federation engaged in crisis discussions overnight. On Wednesday morning, an agreement was finally achieved, resulting in the departure of two players and the stay of 21 players.
At a press conference in Gothenburg, Barcelona defender Paredes said, “We decided to stay, not exactly because we are comfortable — given the whole situation all month, and how we were called up.”
However, we believe that this is what is necessary in order for the agreements to be fulfilled and for everything to go on.
winner of the Ballon d’Or twice In Putellas’ opinion, the gathering may prove to be pivotal for women’s sports.
Putellas said, “I really think there could be a point where there’s a before and after.”
“We worked through the night to reach agreements that, in my opinion, will improve women’s sports, our sport, and ultimately society.”
Additionally, Paredes said that the team felt obligated to play since U23 players could have had to step in for them if they had declined to take part.
Paredes said, “It’s like passing a bomb to players who might not have as much experience.”
Playing football in a respectful environment with dignity is all we want to accomplish. We are attempting to alter things in this way so that the players only need to play at some point in the future.”
Following Spain’s triumph in the Women’s World Cup on August 20, midfielder Jenni Hermoso was forcefully kissed by Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former head of the football federation (RFEF). This incident has caused significant disruption to Spanish sport over the last month.
Following an international outcry against his conduct, Rubiales resigned, and Tome took over as coach of the women’s squad when controversial coach Jorge Vilda was fired.
Following almost all of the striking players’ consent to play, the federation fired general secretary Andreu Camps and said that they were expediting the reforms that the players had requested.
Putellas said that the players were not only irate at being summoned without their choice but also expressed their weariness from the years of playing.
“We identified numerous decades of systematic discrimination against the women’s team—too many,” she said.
“We faced a lot of resistance before we were heard. You become exhausted from this in a manner that we don’t want to.”
One of the squad’s requests, according to Spanish media sources, is that coach Tome be fired after their next two Nations League games, which are scheduled for Tuesday against Switzerland and Friday against Sweden.
Coach stated she was confident enough to carry on, however, and no player had expressed a desire for her to be replaced.
“I am confident—both in myself and the work I’m doing, and I want to finish this.” That’s what I own,” she said during a press conference.
Putellas also disputed that any players had demanded the dismissal of a coach.
In reference to sports matters, she said, “We’re not qualified to kick anyone out… we just want to play, and score.”
Nonetheless, Putellas said that there must to be “zero tolerance” for those “who have concealed, encouraged, or incited abuse.”
Throughout the week and up to the match in Gothenburg, Sweden has been there for the Spanish team.
Sweden midfielder Kosovare Asllani said on Thursday, “I feel proud that they’re taking on the fight, they’re not giving up.”
“They undoubtedly have support from the rest of the globe as well as from Sweden. You must alter these things because the whole world is observing.”
According to Real Madrid midfielder Asllani, inequality is an issue that extends beyond sports.
“It is imperative to elevate more women to positions of authority so they can effect change and build a more equitable future,” she said.
“(There’s) a lot of work to be done, even in Sweden, I would say, but we are ahead of maybe a country like Spain… it’s a society issue, not just a sport issue.”