The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has issued a statement saying they will stand by Spain Women’s head coach Jorge Vilda after 15 players emailed them threatening to resign from the national team.
After a failed attempt at driving Vilda out of the team at the end of August, players stated in their emails that having him as head coach has affected their “emotional state” and health, and unless the issue is resolved, they will no longer play.
The RFEF replied to their request by describing it as “unprecedented in the history of football” and said they wouldn’t be pressured into sacking Vilda. They said that refusing to play for their country is a "very serious infraction and can carry sanctions of between two and five years of disqualification."
However, the Spain players issued a statement on Friday denying they asked the RFEF to dismiss Vilda. They said: "We have never asked for the coach's dismissal as has been commented. We understand that our job is not in any case to choose said position, but to express in a constructive and honest way what we believe can improve the performance of the group."
They added they haven’t officially resigned from the team but, instead, have asked not to be selected because of certain circumstances that affect their emotional state and performance, therefore impacting the national team’s results.
The statement from the players was uploaded on social media by midfielder Alexia Putellas and full-backs Ona Batlle and Leila Ouahabi.
Although the exact grievances the players have with Vilda have not yet been confirmed, there is a feeling of discomfort within the camp. According to Sky Sports News, sources who know about the situation have claimed players have concerns about injury management, the dressing room atmosphere, team selection, and how the training sessions are run.
Both the RFEF and the players appear to be standing firm on the matter, and it's uncertain if there will be any resolution to the national team’s chaos in the coming days or weeks.
Spain is due to play Sweden on the 7th of October and the US national team four days later, for which Vilda will announce his 23-player squad next Friday. However, the RFEF have said the 15 players can only return to the team if they “ask for forgiveness.” They will bring up youth players to fill in their positions if necessary.
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