The women’s soccer team suffers a crisis of unknown dimensions and unforeseeable consequences. The public outrage in a major part of the locker room to force the departure of the coach, Jorge Vilda – materialized with the sending last Thursday by 15 mail players to the Federation in which they renounce being summoned for reasons of “emotional state” – has placed the national team in a limit scenario. The rupture between a no lesser sector of the booth (six of the signatories were fixed starters in the last European Championship) and the alliance, at the moment indivisible, between the coach and the body led by Luis Rubiales seems very difficult to redirect, if not impossible. And all this less than a year before the World Cup and with the best generation of footballers that Spain has produced.
In the absence of new chapters, what has happened in the last few hours is another step, and possibly not the last, in the endless escalation of conflicts that plagues soccer practiced by women in Spain for any reason. In this, specifically, almost the only coincidence between the parties is that the great crisis unleashed after the Euro three months ago [la selección cayó en cuartos contra la campeona, Inglaterra, en la prórroga] It is only due to sporting reasons. To date, no personal reasons have emerged in the relationship between Vilda and the booth.
“It cannot be that it is sold as a great success to pass the group stage [de un gran torneo]”, alerts this newspaper, on condition of anonymity, one of the 15 soccer players who sent the letter to the Federation. “We have to fight to win titles. We already do it in the youth categories and there are players who won the Champions League. Why do you do it? Do we have to settle for beating minor teams?”, the same player wonders about the coach, whom in the core of the rebels they consider “not ambitious”, without the ability to “manage a group of professionals” or the height as a coach to get the most out of the talent of the players. A drawing in which situations of excessive control during concentrations also slide: “He is aware of who we talk to, who we don’t talk to, what we say in the press. If we complain, if we don’t complain…”, add the same sources.
A statement or statement from the 15 mutineers is expected shortly, among which are not the winner of the Ballon d’Or, Alexia Putellas -long-term injured-, nor the captain, Irene Paredes, although sources close to the locker room clarify that they do share the bottom of the matter. “Irene can’t take any more pressure. They have contracts with brands, they want to continue to be linked to soccer when they retire and they are afraid that the Federation will take away their licenses”, they justify from the soccer players’ environment.
Another source close to the booth highlights that, at least these 15, have decided that, given Vilda yes or Vilda no, they have chosen not to go, aware that this could end their international career, very hurt because their claims they don’t have the same weight as when they do in the men’s combine. A movement of enormous risk that they have made, adds the same source, after having consulted with lawyers to write an email very carefully -they expose emotional and not physical reasons- and thus avoid the consequences of the law, which punishes the refusal to go to the selection. In the federation they are waiting to see if they play with their clubs this weekend. “With Rubiales, with these forms they are not going anywhere,” they warn from within the Federation.
The last time that any of the dissatisfied soccer players spoke in public was a month ago, in a tense appearance (coach and players left separately) of the three captains (Paredes, Jenni Hermoso and Patri Guijarro; only the latter has signed now), in which they denied having requested the dismissal of the coach, but they did demand changes. “It’s a general malaise. We have a group that can win big titles, and that’s why that feeling is carried over to the end of the European Championship,” Paredes said at the time. A few minutes earlier, Vilda reported that they had “Transferred the codes of football”admitted that the atmosphere during the Euro got worse when the games came and, incidentally, pointed several times to specific errors on the field.
From the Federation, where some bewilderment due to the open wound is not hidden, they admit that the players transferred the complaint that “Jorge’s message was repetitive and was worn [ascendió al cargo en 2015]”, a lament that, they assure, was attended to and for the fact that measures were already being taken within the staff, with greater protagonism for the rest of the members. “In the summer, Vilda, the second coach [Montse Tomé] and the psychologist [Javier López Vallejo] they met individually with all those selected. And now this comes as a surprise. They are deified, they have not gone face to face. They have shot themselves in the foot”, emphasize sources familiar with the crisis, who suspect the Barcelona coaching staff as a possible instigator of the mutiny. “They tell us that we train badly and blame us for the injuries,” they point out from the federative body. A complaint that, on the other hand and without knowing the federative dart, does not hide a source from the culé team: “The soccer players complain that the training sessions of the national team are boring and do not have intensity. They come back physically in worse condition.”
Meanwhile, Vilda, whose environment saw him this Friday “calm” despite the great storm, will chat these days one by one with the rest of the players likely to be summoned and who have not sent the letter to find out their availability with a view to the list next week for the matches against Sweden (October 7) and the USA (October 11).
And, in the midst of a conflict as great as it is unprecedented, in a quick review of the list of the 15 signatories (Guijarro, Sandra Paños, Claudia Pina, Aitana Bonmatí, Mapi León and Mariona Caldentey, from Barcelona; Ainhoa Moraza and Lola Gallardo, from Atlético; Amaiur Sarriegi and Nerea Eizagirre, from Real Sociedad; Laia Aleixandri and Leila Ouahabi, from City; Ona Batlle and Lucía García, from United; and Andrea Pereira, from América) the total absence of Real Madrid players ( Misa, Olga Carmona, Ivana Andrés, Rocío Gálvez, Teresa Abelleira, Claudia Zornoza, Athenea del Castillo and Esther González were part of the last call). The Madrid players also agreed, warns one of the Barça players; but the white entity, she says, advised them “not to get into trouble.” “And, without us, they become headlines,” she settles.
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