Fifteen players have resigned from the Spanish soccer team after their demand for a coaching change was rejected by the federation on Thursday.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation reported that it had received emails from the 15 soccer players, “with the same wording”, in which they warn that they will leave the team if coach Jorge Vilda is not dismissed.
The players “state that the current situation generated affects them ‘significantly’ in their ’emotional state’ and in their ‘health’ and that, ‘as long as it is not reversed’, they resign from the Spanish national team”, explained the RFEF .
The governing body of soccer in the country did not give details about the problem or identify the soccer players who presented the demand. According to the Spanish press, Alexia Putellas, winner of the most recent Ballon d’Or, is not among the dissatisfied players.
The Federation warned that “it will not allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their powers.” He added that he “will not accept any type of pressure from any player when adopting sports measures.”
“These types of maneuvers are far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sports and are harmful,” he stressed.
The statement mentions that, according to Spanish law, not accepting a call-up to a national team is considered a serious offense that can lead to sanctions of between two and five years.
Although the RFEF clarified that it will not seek these punishments, it emphasized that it will only summon the players in question again “if they accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness.”
The issue “has gone from being a sporting issue to a dignity issue” and “the selection is non-negotiable,” the Federation stressed. “It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football, both male and female, in Spain and worldwide.”
He added that “the national team needs players committed to the project, defending our colors and proud to wear the Spanish shirt”.
Vilda told Spanish media that the players broke some codes of conduct in the locker room, but did not give details.
Recently, the players said in a press conference that they wanted to see some changes in the selection, without demanding Vilda’s resignation.
The RFEF president has taken tough stances in previous confrontations with other Spanish soccer officials. Shortly after assuming the presidency, he dismissed the coach of the men’s national team Julen Lopetegui, a few days before the 2018 World Cup, for accepting the job of Real Madrid strategist without first informing the Federation.
Vilda took the reins of the women’s team in 2015, replacing Ignacio Quereda, who was later accused by some players, who said he verbally abused them.
Spain fell to eventual champions England in the quarterfinals of this year’s Women’s Euro Cup.