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Spain: 15 players leave national soccer team in protest against coaches
15 players have all resigned from Spain’s national soccer team. The reason for this are differences with coach Jorge Vilda, whom some players had previously asked to resign. However, the Spanish Football Federation is sticking with the coach.
15 players have emailed their intention to leave the Spanish national soccer team as long as coach Jorge Vilda stays in office. This was announced by the Spanish football association RFEF on Thursday.
In their identically worded emails, the players write that the current situation is seriously affecting their emotional state and health – until the circumstances change, they would leave the national team. According to Reuters news agency, the players are unhappy with Vilda’s training methods, team selection, injury management and the atmosphere in the dressing room.
Spain’s footballers have previously asked coaches to resign
Weeks earlier, some players had called for coach Vilda to resign, as the Spanish daily “El Mundo” reported. At the end of August, the team’s captain, Irene Paredes, and other players in the dressing room openly protested against him and asked him to resign. Vilda had rejected this at the time, and the RFEF had also expressed its confidence in him. In two subsequent press conferences on 1 September, captain Paredes, along with players Patri Guijarro and Jennifer Hermoso, stressed that they had sent Vilda a message of “the general unease” from the team. Every player has to be consistent from now on and decide whether they want to continue or not,” Hermoso said.
The Spanish Football Association has already made it clear in its statement on Thursday that it will continue to support coach Vilda. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football. The players will not be put under pressure and will not be allowed to “question the continuity of the national team coach and his coaching staff” because these decisions are not their responsibility. The actions of the players are “anything but exemplary, do not correspond to the values of football and sport and are harmful.”
Spanish Football Federation: Players face fines
The resignations could also have consequences for the players. The RFEF pointed out that their resignation would have violated current Spanish law and could even result in a ban of two to five years as a punishment.
The RFEF did not announce which players exactly announced their departure. According to reports from “El Mundo”, the following players should be involved: Andrea Pereira, Ainhoa Vicente Moraza, Aitana Bonmatí, Amaiur Sarriegi, Sandra Paños, Lola Gallardo, Laia Aleixandri, Mapi León, Leila Ouahabi, Ona Battle, Patri Guijarro , Lucía García, Mariona Caldentey, Claudia Pina and Nerea Eizagirre. Irene Paredes, record goalscorer Hermoso and top player Alexia Putellas, who was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 2021, should not be among them.
Spanish Football Federation expects apologies from players
The association now wants to fill the gaps in the national team with players from the youth classes. He only wants to see dedicated players playing for the Spanish team, who are proud to wear the Spanish jersey. The players who announced their departure could only return to the national team in the future if they apologized.
Jorge Vilda has been coaching the Spanish women’s national football team since 2015. His contract runs until the end of 2024.