Spanish footballers ended their boycott after the federation promised immediate changes

(CNN) — The conflict between the Spanish women’s soccer team and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) appears to have reached a turning point after a series of agreements were reached with the government’s High Sports Council (CSD).

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

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

Two players, Barcelona stars Mabi Leon and Patricia Guijarro, have asked to leave the team, saying “their situation is different from that of other teammates”.

Francos told reporters early Wednesday that a “very firm agreement” had been reached between all parties and pledged immediate changes in Spanish football regarding “policies of gender equality, promotion of equal pay, improvement in equality in the quality of infrastructure for the game.” , in this case, women’s soccer”.

He said the players who initially refused to play in the next two matches would not face any sanction.

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

“The parties (…) have reached a point where what could have been a disaster, it seems, is not the worst news,” Francos said.

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A joint commission will also be formed with representatives from players, RFEF and CSD to implement the new changes in the future.

“We have agreed on powers to cover all aspects of this commission [las jugadoras] “They’ve been asking for a long time for changes to the women’s soccer system, the strategic plan for women’s soccer and the rest of the changes we’re talking about these days,” said Amanda Gutierrez, president of the players’ union. , told reporters this Wednesday. FUTPRO.

Montse Dom, who replaced Jorge Wilda as women’s team captain after the Rubiales controversy, will continue in his post after meeting privately with the players, RFEF’s head of women’s football, Rafael Del Amo, said.

Asked about Domé’s false statements at his press conference this Monday about the absence of Jenny Hermoso from the team to “protect” the player, Del Amo told reporters: “I think we have to protect her from the pressure that might arise at this time. At the end of the day, she’s a player we trust completely. That’s how it will be.” We believe and we must honor her.”

Dom had selected the squad for the upcoming matches against Sweden and Switzerland, despite the players expressing a “firm desire not to be called up for legitimate reasons”.

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

“We are giving full support to our colleagues as we have been doing from outside for so long,” he said.

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

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

Both Leon and Guijarro are part of a group of players nicknamed ‘The 15’ who have been at loggerheads with the RFEF for more than a year and most have been left out of the squad for the World Cup in July and August.

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

How did we get here?

Wednesday’s announcement is the latest development in a long feud between the Spanish women’s team and the RFEF, who won the Women’s World Cup title last month.

Tensions rose between the two sides after former RFEF president Luis Rubiales planted an unwanted kiss on Spain’s Jennifer Hermoso during the World Cup finals medal ceremony in Sydney.

Rubiales resigned from his post and Spain’s national court continues to investigate possible charges of sexual assault and coercion against him, Spanish prosecutors told CNN.

Players’ discontent with the federation A year earlier, 15 members of the senior women’s team (“Los 15”) had sent personally signed letters to the RFEF stating that they would not play with the team again. National unless there are drastic changes in the entire coaching staff.

Of the 15 players who signed the letters, only three were in Spain’s squad for the World Cup: Mariona Caldente, Aidana Bonmetti and Ona Badle. Those three were included in Dom’s call-up, which was announced this Monday, along with Leon and Guijarro.

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Despite these extra sporting complications, the young Spanish team had a fantastic campaign at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, defeating England in the final to win their first title.

Rubiales’ performance during the medal ceremony and its aftermath overshadowed the record, culminating in his resignation as president of the RFEF on 11 September.

However, now that Vilda and Rubiales have left their posts, the RFEF hopes to start a new chapter in women’s football.

This Monday, before announcing the list of invitees, he issued a statement in which he underlined his commitment to implementing changes in the organization.

“It is clear that the federation, the community and the players are united in the same goal: renewal and the beginning of a new era, with football being the best winner in this whole process,” the statement said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be renamed the ‘Spanish Football Team’.

The RFEF announced a name change in relation to the women’s and men’s national teams, now referring to both as the “Spanish Football Team”.

A freedom This Wednesday’s RFEF press release states that the unique brand of the “Spanish football team” will match the men’s and women’s national teams.

“Rather than a symbolic step, we want this to mark a change in perception, football is football no matter who plays it,” RFEF president Pedro Rocha said in a statement.

Eden Hayes

"Wannabe gamer. Subtly charming beer buff. General pop culture trailblazer. Incurable thinker. Certified analyst."

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