Rebellion in Spain’s squad of 15 players refuse to play in an attempt to overthrow the coach | Spanish women’s soccer team

The Spanish national football team plunged into crisis Thursday night when 15 players announced that they were not ready to be selected as long as Jorge Velda continues as head coach.

Each player wrote to the Spanish Federation (RFEF) insisting that the situation with the coach, which they failed to remove at the end of August, had affected their health and emotional state and that they did not intend to return until a solution was found.

Among those who sent the emails were six Barcelona players, such as Una Batley, Lucia Garcia and Manchester United players, and Manchester City players Lea Alexandre and Leila Wahabi. They were not among them captain Irene Paredes and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Butillas, but the injury meant the latter was not already available for the upcoming matches in October.

The federation responded with a strongly worded statement calling it “unprecedented in the history of football”, a situation that “goes beyond sport to become a matter of dignity”, and insisted it would not succumb to pressure. The federation indicated that refusing to play for the national team could lead to a ban for a period of between two and five years, but announced that it would not call any of the players involved until they “admit their mistake and apologize.” Al Ittihad will play young players if necessary.

The messages come three weeks after a rebellion in which members of the Spanish national team expressed their displeasure with Felda to President Luis Rubiales. Then they encountered Felda as well, but he refused to step down. The players appeared at a press conference together – backed on social media by Botelas – in which Paredes insisted they “did not ask for his dismissal” but admitted that “the captains, who represent the group, conveyed what we feel”. She said they received reassurance that there would be changes.

Spain played Ukraine on September 6. On Friday, emails arrived from Patre Guijarro, Mabe Leon, Aitana Ponmateti, Mario Caldente, Sandra Banos, Andrea Pereira and Claudia Pena from Barcelona, ​​as well as Batlle, Alexandre, Uhapi, Ainhua Vicente, Lucia Garcia and Lola Gallardo. , Amayor Sarrighi and Neria Izagiri None of the Real Madrid players have sent emails.

Una Batley, who plays for her club football with Manchester United, is trying to remove Jorge Velda from touching his head. Photography: Oscar J. Barroso/Shutterstock

The Federation refused to bow to this pressure, and the tone of war and the language used in their response emphasized that reconciliation would be very difficult. A statement issued late on Thursday confirmed that they had received 15 messages “which were written by chance in the same way.”

“The Spanish Federation will not allow players to question the coach’s continuity, because making those decisions is not part of their role,” the statement pledged. “The federation will not accept any kind of pressure from any player when it comes to making sporting decisions. This kind of scheming is incompatible with the values ​​of football or sport and is harmful.”

“According to Spanish legislation, failure to respond to an invitation from the national team is classified as a grave offense and can result in a ban for two to five years. [But] In contrast to the behavior of these players, the Spanish Football Federation wants to make it clear that it will not take matters to this point and will not put pressure on the players. He simply will not call those players who do not want to wear the Spanish shirt.

“The Spanish Football Federation will only call up committed players, even if it means playing with young players. The national team needs players who are committed to the project and defend our colors and who are proud to wear the Spain shirt. Players who submitted their resignation will return in the future only if they admit their mistake and apologize.”

Spain will play Sweden in Cordoba on October 7. Under Vilda’s leadership, Spain reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2022, where it was Lost in extra time for England.