The Spanish players insist they never called for head coach Jorge Vilda to be sacked – and have denounced the governing body for going public with their concerns.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation said it had received 15 emails from players who refused to continue representing their country under Vilda.
According to the national governing body, the players had claimed that Vilda’s regime affected their ‘health’ and ’emotional state’ and ‘until it is reversed, they renounce the Spain national team’ .
Reports suggest the players agreed to push for the departure of Vilda, who has held the position since 2015, shortly after their Euro 2022 quarter-final loss to England due to her methods and tactics training.
The RFEF said players could be disqualified for up to five years and will only be allowed to play again ‘if they own up to their mistake and ask for forgiveness’, adding that it would replace players with others from the age groups inferiors of the national team.
Later on Friday, the players posted a collective response on social media, posted via Manchester United defender Ona Batlle and Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas, the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner who was forced to leave the club. Euro 2022 due to a serious knee injury.
The players claimed they had ‘never asked for the manager’s dismissal’, adding ‘our job is in no way to choose’ the position.
The group underlined its disappointment “that the RFEF has made public, in a partial and interested way, a private communication with information that affects our health”.
The players clarified “in no case have we resigned from the Spanish team as the RFEF points out in its press release”.
The group’s message continues: “As we said in our private communication, we have maintained, continue to maintain and will continue to maintain an unquestionable commitment to the Spanish national team.
“That is why we ask in our communication sent to the RFEF not to be called up to situations that affect our emotional and personal state, our performance and, consequently, the results of the team and which could lead to unwanted injuries.These would be the reasons that lead us to make this decision.
“We want a firm commitment to a professional project in which all aspects are taken care of to achieve the best performance from a group of players with whom we believe that more and better goals can be achieved.
“We wish the best for the RFEF, for the women’s national team and for us in particular, without getting into public wars.”
The statement concluded: “From our ambition as players, fighters and winners, we just want to be able to achieve maximum professional and personal success again.
“Lastly and above all, we will not tolerate the infantilizing tone with which the RFEF concludes its press release.
“We regret that in women’s sport we have to go to this extreme, as has unfortunately happened in other national teams and other sports historically at world level, in order to move forward in a project powerful and ambitious professional for the present and for future generations.”
Manchester City have two Spain internationals in their squad, defender Laia Aleixandri and left-back Leilia Ouahabi, who also shared the players’ statement on her personal Twitter account.
Asked about the situation ahead of the Women’s Super League game at Chelsea on Sunday, City boss Gareth Taylor told a press conference: “(I’ve had) a few conversations with the players involved. They’re going to good.
“A lot of this conversation is difficult for me because I don’t know a lot of the details. I’ve spoken to the girls, just more for support, and they’re fine.
“They are enjoying life with us at the club. I hope this can be resolved for them and for the rest of the players on the international stage.