Luis Rubiales Jorge Vilda Football Spain Sporting Barcelona Luis Rubiales Jorge Vilda Football Spain

Player mutiny exposes deeper issues within Spanish women’s football

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The emails arrived at the federation at about seven o’clock on Thursday evening: 15 of them written in the first person but all saying the same thing in exactly the same words. “I inform you that the events that have occurred and the situation that has arisen in the Spanish national team, a situation of which you are aware, are having an important effect on my emotional state and by extension my health,” the letters read. “As I result I do not currently consider myself to be in a condition to be chosen for the national team and I ask not to be called up until the situation is resolved.” Another mutiny had begun, three weeks since the last.

In a single minute, more than half of the Spain team had pulled out, determined that they would not go back for as long as nothing changes and Jorge Vilda is in charge – even if they did not explicitly express it in those terms, the coach not named.

In August they had pushed for the president of the federation, Luis Rubiales, to make changes in women’s football that included Vilda; when Rubiales had refused, they had tried to get Vilda to walk but he would not.

Now, they had decided they would do so instead. This could not continue, on more levels than one. For some of those players, the reference to their emotional state, their health, was not empty words.

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