The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) may take strict actions against players of the women’s team who have refused to take the field until some of their demands are met. Spanish football has been going through a turbulent phase since former President Luis Rubiales forcefully kissed forward Jenni Hermoso at the presentation ceremony of the FIFA Women’s World Cup final earlier in August. Following the controversial event, a number of female footballers declined to don the national jersey until Rubiales was axed from his position.
Despite holding multiple meetings, the players are adamant about skipping the upcoming Nations League fixtures. This decision comes as a huge setback for Spanish women’s football team coach Montse Tome, who will find it hard to build a solid playing XI without top players like Alexia Putellas and Aitana Bonmati.
On September 15, Putellas issued a statement on social media where as many as 39 female footballers signed to showcase their support. It called for a significant change in the current structure of the Spanish football governing body. The footballers believe the departure of Rubilales and Vilda is not enough to bring a comfortable environment in the women’s squad.
“To date, as we have conveyed to the RFEF, the changes that have taken place are not enough for the players to feel that they are in a safe place, where women are respected, where there is support for women’s football and where we can give our maximum performance,” the statement read (as translated to English).
The revelation, however, did not go down well with the RFEF hierarchy. The accused employees are reportedly set to file legal complaints against the mutinying players for “coercion and slander,” according to a report by El Espanol. The coercion underlines the resignation demands, while slander means the allegation brought in against the RFEF officials.
Rubiales tried his best to prove his innocence but had to resign after FIFA interfered. Replacing him, Pedro Rocha took charge as an interim president last month. Just a few days before Rubiales’ resignation, World Cup-winning coach, Jorge Vilda, was also sacked by the Spanish FA after questions were raised regarding his behaviour with women’s footballers. Montse Tome came as a replacement for Vilda to become the Spanish women’s team’s first female manager.
Despite these steps taken by RFEF, the mutinying footballers are not yet convinced to join the team. The Spanish women’s team are scheduled to play two crucial games in the UEFA Nations League. They will take on Sweden on September 22 before squaring off against Switzerland four days later. Though, the newly appointed Spanish women’s football team coach Tome is quite concerned about the availability of the players.