Mriots against the national coach and dispute over a press release from the association: Spanish football is being shaken by a “rebellion”. "Earthquake in the women's team," headlined the newspaper Sport. The conflict with coach Jorge Vilda, which had been smoldering for weeks, came to a head for the time being, with almost ten months before the start of the World Cup, the home blessing of the title candidate is lopsided.
15 players complained on Thursday about what they considered to be an unqualified coach. Twelve of them were part of the European Championship squad this summer, nine were in the starting XI in the 0-2 group game against Germany. The RFEF association took this as a resignation and announced it to the public as such – which promptly led to the next fuss.
"We didn't resign"
"We have definitely not resigned from the national team, as the association claims in its official statement," said the players in an open letter on Friday evening and complained about the abbreviated rendering of their messages.
Nevertheless, the impression remained that the rebels wanted to force the association to dismiss Vilda - but the RFEF, unlike the last time the referees' strike, remains stubborn.
The RFEF "will not allow players to question the continuity of the national team coach and his coaching staff as such decisions are not within their remit," it said in a statement. The players had previously stated in emails with identical wording that the current situation was "significantly" affecting their "emotional state" and "health".
The injured world footballer Alexia Putellas is not one of the renegades, nor is Jennifer Hermoso or the Real Madrid players. But otherwise all the stars complained - from goalkeeper Sandra Panos to defender Mapi Leon, midfielder Patri to attacker Mariona Caldentey. US star Megan Rapinoe promised them support via Instagram. La Roja has been rumbling ever since the European Championship was eliminated in the quarter-finals against England (1-2).
During the international match at the beginning of September, there was a press conference at which, according to media reports, several players assured that they had not asked for the coach's resignation. But the dialogue was followed by rebellion. "We don't know what the problem is. The players haven't been treated badly, not at all. This is a very serious matter,” said Ana Alvarez, in charge of women's football at the RFEF.
The procedure “does not correspond to the values of football” and is even “harmful”, the association said. There will be no dismissal of Vilda at the request of the players. Rather, they should see their mistake and sincerely apologize if they want to return to the team. Otherwise, the squad will be filled with youth players in the direction of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand (July 20 to August 20, 2023).
Already next week Vilda, equipped with a contract until 2024, has to nominate his first squad after "Rebellion" (As). Finally, on October 7th against Sweden and on October 11th against world champions USA, his newly formed team will have their first high-quality tests.