Spanish women's national team to compete this week after meeting with federation
The GIST: Members of the Spanish women’s national team begrudgingly arrived at training camp yesterday under threat of fines and possible suspension if their strike against the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) continues. But progress seemed to be made overnight.
- After an extensive, six-hour meeting with the players, RFEF and Spain’s National Sports Council, all but two athletes decided to stay at training camp, ending their boycott after being promised “profound changes.”
- Notably, Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro — who also boycotted the FIFA Women’s World Cup — left camp, but, as per Spain’s secretary for sport, will no longer face sanctions.
The background: Last Friday, 39 players announced that they will not play for the national team until further changes are made at RFEF, a declaration that came after disgraced former president Luis Rubiales’ resignation and former head coach Jorge Vilda’s firing.
- Come Monday, 20 of those athletes were selected to the national team roster for this month’s two UEFA Nations League games, the first of which is this Friday against Sweden.
- Fifteen of those 20 played on Spain’s FIFA Women’s World Cup–winning squad, but Jenni Hermoso, who Rubiales forcibly kissed during the World Cup trophy presentation, was curiously left off the roster.
- New head coach Montse Tomé said Hermoso’s exclusion was “to protect her,” to which Hermoso responded, “Protect me from what? And from whom?” Mic drop.
The players’ initial response: Spanish sports law mandates that, barring injury, any athlete called to a national team must report for duty. If they don’t, they face up to $32K in fines and a possible suspension of up to five years.
- After the roster dropped, players accused the RFEF of violating FIFA regulations surrounding notification of selection, but had no choice but to report for training.
- In a plot twist, as mentioned, training started with an extensive meeting, that left the players feeling comfortable to compete in at least this week’s match. Time will tell if RFEF and the country’s sports council can keep their word.