A few months after Euro 2022 and Spain plunges into crisis, as 15 female players declared themselves unavailable to defend her “rocha”, as long as Jorge Vilda is at the “helm” of the team. The 41-year-old, who has been in charge of the national team since 2015, has a contract until 2024 and is backed by RFEF president Luis Rubiales.
Each of the 15 soccer players sent a letter to Spanish Federation (RFEF) insisting that the situation with the coach, who they failed to lead to the exit at the end of August, before the last two matches of the World Cup qualifiers, it has affected their health and emotional state and that they do not intend to return until a solution is found!
Six of her players Barcelona she was among those who sent an email, as were her players Manchester United and her City. The first captain, Irene Paredes, and the Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Pouteias, stayed away from the action of their teammates. Of course for the latter, her injury automatically meant that she will not be available for the upcoming games in October.
The Federation for its part responded with a strongly worded statement describing the event as “unprecedented in the history of football”a situation which “Beyond sports, it’s also a matter of dignity” and insisted that he will not give in to pressure!
He noted that the refusal of a player to compete for the national team could lead to bans of two to five years, but clarify that he just won’t call any of the players involved until “admit their mistake and apologize”. In addition, he made it clear that Spain will compete with new players if necessary.
The Spain internationals’ letters come three weeks after team members voiced complaints about Vilda to president Luis Rubiales. Then they confronted the coach himself who refused to resign. The players appeared together at a press conference – supported on social media by Pouteyas – in which Paredes insisted that “they hadn’t asked to be fired” but admitted that “the captains, who represent the team, communicated how we feel”. In addition, he emphasized that the Federation had assured them that there would be changes.
Emails were sent by: Guijarro, Mapi Leon, Aitana Bonmati, Caldeday, Sandra Panios, Andrea Pereira, Claudia Pina (Barcelona). As well as from Baillia, Alessandri, Wahabi, Vicenche, Lucia Garcia, Lola Gaiardo, Amayur Sariezi, Nerea Ezazira. Let’s mention that none of her players Real Madrid sent an email.
The Federation refused to bow to this pressure and the bellicose tone and language used in its response underlined that reconciliation would be extremely difficult.
A statement released late on Thursday evening confirmed that they had received 15 letters which, it is noted, were all “coincidentally spelled the same way”.
“The RFEF will not allow players to challenge the coach’s continuity as it is not part of their role to make those decisions”the statement said. “The Federation will not accept any type of pressure from any player when it comes to making sporting decisions. This type of scheming does not fit the values of football or sport and is damaging.
Under Spanish law, failure to respond to the national team’s call-up is considered a serious offense and can lead to suspensions of between two and five years. [Αλλά] the RFEF, contrary to the behavior of these players, wants to make it clear that it will not take things to this extreme, nor will it put pressure on the players.
He simply won’t call up players who don’t wish to wear the Spain shirt. The RFEF will only call up players who are committed, even if that means playing with youngsters. The national team needs players who are dedicated to the task and the defense of our colors and who are proud to wear the Spanish shirt. Resigned players will only return in the future if they admit their mistake and apologize.”
Under Vilda, Spain reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2022, where they lost in extra time to England.
It should be noted that in 2015 his predecessor, Ignacio Kereda, resigned after the players of Spain demanded that he be fired. Their move then came after Spain finished last in their World Cup group.