Members of the Spanish women’s national team have released a joint statement clarifying that they have not resigned from the national team and have not asked for manager Jorge Vilda to be dismissed.
The RFEF announced on Thursday that 15 Spanish players had submitted their resignation via email because the current situation within the national team was detrimental to their wellbeing.
A statement from the RFEF vowed to not bow to the pressure of the protesting players, and insisted those who refuse to play for the national team could receive bans of up to five years.
Numerous members of the Spanish team – including Barcelona’s Aitana Bonmati, Manchester United’s Ona Batlle, Manchester City’s Laia Aleixandri and injured UEFA Player of the Year Alexia Putellas – have released identical statements on social media condemning the RFEF for making their private email public, criticising the tone of the statement and clarifying their position.
The statement explains that the players have not resigned from the national team completely, rather made themselves temporarily unavailable for selection until ‘situations that affect our emotional and personal state are reversed’.
“The players regret, in the first place, that the RFEF has made public, a private communication, with information that affects our health – which is part of our privacy- sent in response to the request of the Federation itself to know who of us wanted not to be called up. Communication of which, by the way, we have not received response in form,” the statement reads.
“Secondly, in no case have we RESIGNED from the Spanish football team as the RFEF points out in its official statement. As we said in our private communication we have maintained, maintain and will maintain an unquestionable commitment to the Spanish selection.
“That is why in our communication sent to the RFEF we request not to be called up
until situations that affect our emotional and personal state are reversed.
“We wish the best for the RFEF, for the National Team Feminine and for us in particular, without entering into public wars.
“We have never asked for the dismissal of the coach as has been commented. We understand that our work is not in any case to choose said position, but to express constructively and honestly what we consider can improve the performance of the group.”
In addition to Bonmati, Batlle, Aleixandri and Putellas, Ainhoa Vicente, Patri Guijarro, Sandra Paños, Amaiur Sarriegi, Leila Ouahabi, Lucia García, Mapi León, Claudia Pina, Mariona Caldentey and Lola Gallardo have all published the statement on social media.
The players also stress the potential risk they are bringing to their career by asking not to be called up for the national team with the World Cup on the horizon, emphasising how this is not a decision they have taken lightly.
“Can anyone think that, eight months before a World Cup, a group of TOP LEVEL PLAYERS, which is what we consider ourselves, consider this decision, as has been implied publicly, as a whim or blackmail? By requesting not to be called up, we penalise our professional career, our finances and therefore ability to continue building something important in women’s football.
“Where we are right now has cost many people years of effort and there are still many things to improve as is being shown recently.
“Last but not least importantly, we will not tolerate the infantilising tone with which the RFEF concludes its release.
“We regret that in the context of women’s sport we have to go to this extreme, as unfortunately it has happened in other teams and other sports historically worldwide, to achieve progress in a powerful and ambitious professional project for the present and for future generations.”