Fifteen of Spain’s top female footballers have quit the national team, saying their head coach’s training methods are damaging their emotional state and their health.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement on Thursday that it had received 15 emails from 15 players asking not to be selected and referring to the players having a problem with national team coach Jorge Vilda and the staff.
The federation said it was “an unprecedented situation in the history of football, men’s and women’s, in Spain and in the world”.
The players said in their resignation letters that the “current situation” had significantly affected their “emotional state and health”, according to the federation.
The players were unhappy with injury management, the dressing room atmosphere, Vilda’s squad selection and training, Reuters reports citing sources familiar with the matter.
Two-time World Cup winner and United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe took to Instagram on Thursday night to support the players, saying: “You have a 16th [player] standing with you in [US flag emoji] This large number of players together like this is so powerful. We should all listen.
The RFEF seem to stand by the coach. The federation said it “will not allow players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, as making those decisions is outside their powers”.
“The federation will not allow any type of pressure from a player when adopting sporting measures. These types of maneuvers are far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sport and are harmful” , he added.
The RFEF said players would not be allowed to return to the national team unless they “accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.
Revolt is a high risk move for players. The federation said refusing to honor a call-up for a national team was classed as “a very serious offense and can result in penalties of two and five years disqualification”.
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