The players arrived at camp on Tuesday after being picked against their will by new coach Montse Tome the previous day, the latest twist in the crisis gripping Spanish soccer after former federation president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenny Hermoso on the lips during an awards ceremony after Spain won the women’s world title in Australia last month.
They have been openly rioting for more than three weeks since the players said on Aug. 25 that they would no longer play for their country until there was a change in leadership at the federation. Following Rubiales’ resignation, the players have continued to refuse to return until the federation undergoes fundamental reform.
Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was among the majority of those who stayed. However, during a training session in Valencia, she told reporters: ‘I don’t really like being here.
Even though the results of the meeting, which ended in New York, immediately However, no specific details of the agreement were announced.The federation announced the dismissal of secretary general Andreu Camps at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday. Kamps was considered close to Rubiales and his resignation was one of the changes demanded by the players.
FUTPRO players’ union president Amanda Gutierrez said steps have been taken to establish the same treatment for the Spanish women’s and men’s national teams. ‘An agreement has been reached to make changes to the structure of women’s soccer so that the executive and administrative staff are in line with the men’s teams, to further professionalize the team and staff,’ said Gutierrez.
Victor Francos, Spain’s sports minister and president of the Supreme Council of Sports, said the cordial meetings resulted in the creation of a committee involving players, federation and government. He said the agreements should promote gender policies and equal pay and lead to structural changes in women’s soccer.
Another move by the federation was to remove the term de fútbol femenino, women’s soccer, from the team name. In a statement, the federation said the men’s and women’s national teams will officially be called Selección Española de Fútbol, or the Spanish National Football Team.
We want this to be not just a symbolic change, but a conceptual shift and a recognition that soccer is soccer regardless of who plays it, said Pedro Rocha, the federation’s interim president.
Among the soccer players’ demands was that Rocha, who took over after Rubiales’ resignation, also step down. Leon and Guijarro have not played for the Spanish national team since they were part of a revolt last year by 15 players who refused to play for the national team until the federation created more professional working conditions, which proved to be the prekl to the current revolt.
Situation for Patry (Guillarro) and I are different from the situation with our teammates, Leon said as he left the team. It wasn’t the right way to come back (to the team). We weren’t ready to just say, OK, we’re back. It’s a process. (However) we’re excited that changes are happening.
Spain’s Acting Minister of Culture and Sports, Mikel Iseta, said he hopes the federation’s expected reforms will create an environment where players will truly feel motivated, comfortable and excited about playing and winning.
Iseta said that the federation plans to hold early elections in the first months of 2024. ‘We hope that the renewal of the federation will be a turning point,’ Iseta said.
Federation officials said the players have not called for Tome to resign, although she will likely have some work to do to regain the players’ trust. Tome was an assistant to former coach Jorge Vilda during the women’s World Cup in soccerolu. She resigned during the conflict with Rubiales, but agreed to return to replace Wilda after his dismissal.
Tome on Monday picked nearly half of the 39 players who said they would not play for the national team until their demands were met, including 15 World Cup-winning players. Hermoso was not among them, and Tome said the decision was made to protect her. Hermoso, who said she did not consent to Rubiales’ kiss, accused the federation of trying to intimidate her teammates by selecting them for the national team against their will.
The lineup announcement was scheduled for Friday but was postponed because no agreement was reached with the players. The players said the squad announcement took them by surprise, but they showed up to the training camp because they otherwise risked violating a Spanish sports law that requires athletes to respond to the call of national teams unless the it’s not prevented by circumstances.
Refusal to be called up to the national team can threaten a player with a fine or even a ban from playing for their clubs. These penalties must be requested by the federation to the government sports council, which will decide on their application.
Following the meetings, the government said it will not seek punishment for players who decide to quit. Spain will play Nations League matches against Sweden on Friday and Switzerland on Tuesday.
The overnight meeting coincided with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez meeting with Gianni Infantino in New York to promote Spain’s joint bid with Portugal and Morocco to host the 2030 men’s World Cup. Sanchez’s government has expressed concern that the Rubiales scandal could damage the bid.
Spanish politicians, soccer clubs and players, as well as many fans, have supported the players in their standoff with by the federation. Government and feminist groups have characterized it as the Me Too movement in Spanish soccer.