Spain’s players insist they never asked for coach Jorge Vilda’s resignation – and criticized the governing body for airing 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 claimed that Vilda’s regime was affecting their “health” and “emotional state” and “as long as it is not reversed, they resign from the Spain national team”.
Reports suggested the players had agreed to push for the departure of Vilda, who has been in charge since 2015, following their Euro 2022 quarter-final defeat to England over his coaching methods and tactics.
The RFEF said players can be disqualified for up to five years and will only be able to play again “if they admit their mistake and ask for forgiveness”, adding that it will replace the players with others from the lower age groups of the national team.
Later on Friday, the players issued a collective response on social media, posted by Manchester United defender Ona Batlle and Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas, the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner who was forced out of Euro 2022. for a serious knee injury.
The players said they “never asked for the coach’s resignation”, adding “that our job is by no means to choose” the position.
The group highlighted the disappointment “that the RFEF has made public, in a partial and interested way, a private communication with information that affects our health”.
The players made it clear that “in no case do we resign from the Spanish team, as the RFEF points out in its official statement”.
The group’s message continued: “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 request in our communication sent to the RFEF that we not be called for situations that affect our emotional and personal state, our performance and, consequently, the results of the team and that could result in undesirable injuries. These would be the reasons that lead us to make this decision.
“We want a firm commitment to a professional project where every aspect is taken care of to get 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 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.
“Last but not least, we will not tolerate the childish tone with which the RFEF concludes its statement.
“We regret that in the context of women’s sport we have to go to this extreme, as has unfortunately happened in other national teams and other sports historically on a global level, to advance a powerful and ambitious professional project for the present and for future generations.”
Manchester City have two Spanish 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 against Chelsea on Sunday, City manager Gareth Taylor told a news conference: “(I’ve had) some conversations with the players involved. They are well.
“A lot of this conversation is difficult for me because I don’t know a lot of the details. I spoke to the girls, just more for support, and they are 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.”