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Mutiny in the Spanish national team: 15 footballers refused to play, trying to move the head coach | Spain women’s national football team

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Spain’s women’s national team was plunged into crisis on Thursday night when 15 players declared themselves unavailable for selection while Jorge Wilda is in charge.

Each of the players wrote to the Spanish Federation (RFEF), insisting that the situation with the coach, who they were unable to remove at the end of August, had affected their health and emotional state, and that they did not intend to return until a solution was found .

Six Barcelona players were among those who sent emails, as were Manchester United players Ono Battle and Lucia Garcia, and Manchester City players Lai Alejandro and Leila Wahabi. Among them were captain Irene Paredes and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellos, but due to injury, the latter could no longer participate in the next games in October.

The federation responded with a strongly worded statement, calling it “unprecedented in the history of football”, a situation that “goes beyond sport as a matter of dignity”, and insisting it would not bow to pressure. The federation noted that refusing to play for the national team could result in a ban of two to five years, but said it would simply not call up any of the players involved until they “admit their mistake and apologise”. If necessary, the federation will field young men.

The letters came three weeks after a riot in which members of the Spanish national team expressed their displeasure with Wilda to President Luis Rubiales. Then they also confronted Wilda, but he refused to step down. The players appeared at a press conference together – with Poutelos’ support on social media – at which Paredes insisted they “didn’t ask to fire him” but admitted that “the captains who represent the group expressed what we feel “. She said they were assured there would be changes.

Spain played with Ukraine on September 6. On Friday, emails came from Patra Guijar, Mapi Leon, Aitana Bonmati, Mariona Caldentei, Sandra Paños, Andrea Pereira and Claudia Pina from Barcelona, ​​as well as Batle, Aleixandra, Wahabi, Ainoa Vicente, Lucia García, Lola Gallardo, Amayur Sariega and Nereus Eizaguirre. None of the Real Madrid players sent emails.

Ona Battle, who plays her club football for Manchester United, is trying to oust Jorge Wilda as manager Photo: Oscar J Barroso/Shutterstock

The Federation refused to bow to this pressure, and the belligerent tone and language used in their response emphasized that reconciliation would be extremely difficult. A statement released late on Thursday confirmed that they had received 15 letters, which it noted were all “coincidentally written in the same way”.

“The RFEF will not allow players to question the succession of the coach as it is not their role to make such decisions,” the statement promised. “The federation will not accept any pressure from any player when it comes to making sporting decisions. Such intrigues do not correspond to the values ​​of football or sports and cause harm.”

“According to Spanish law, refusing to answer the call of the national team is classified as a serious offense and can lead to a disqualification of between two and five years. [But] The RFEF, in contrast to the behavior of these players, wants to make it clear that it will not take things to such an extreme and will not put pressure on the players. He simply won’t call up those players who don’t want to wear the Spanish shirt.

“The RFEF will only call for committed players, even if that means playing with young players. The national team needs players who are committed to the project and the defense of our colors, who are proud to wear the Spain shirt. The players who have submitted their resignations will only return if they admit their mistake and apologize.”

Spain will play Sweden in Cordoba on October 7.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/sep/23/mutiny-spain-squad-women-football-refuse-play-oust-head-coach-jorge-vilda

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