15 Sep, 2023 @ 13:30
1 min read

Spain’s women’s football team stands firm and upholds decision not to play 

Rubiales
6/18/2023 - ROTTERDAM - Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales during the UEFA Nations League final match between Croatia and Spain at Feyenoord Stadion de Kuip on June 18, 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. AP | Dutch Height | MAURICE OF STONE /ANP/Sipa USA *** Local Caption *** 48023329

SPAIN’S women’s national football team decided on Thursday to stand firm and continue to refuse to play any matches until there are further-reaching changes made within the sport’s Federation. 

The protest by the 23-player squad comes in the wake of the global controversy sparked by the actions of now ex-Federation chief Luis Rubiales, who forcibly kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the Spain team won the World Cup in Sydney on August 20. 

Federation sources have confirmed to media outlets that 80 women players are sticking by the decision they first made on August 25 in the wake of the scandal, committing to not playing again until changes were made. 

Rubiales finally quit this week after weeks of pressure, as well as having been suspended from his role by global football authority Fifa. On Friday he appeared in the national High Court in Madrid to be questioned by a judge about the kiss, which has led to him facing criminal charges.

The women’s team coach, Jorge Vilda, has also been sacked from his role since the row blew up. As well as initially publicly supporting Rubiales, Vilda has long been considered by the Spain team as domineering and lacking quality. 

Rubiales
Luis Rubiales in a file photo. AP

The decision by the players puts the new coach, Montse Tome, in a difficult position, given that she was due to announce her team picks today at 4pm for upcoming fixtures in the Nations League. 

Tome will now not be able to count on the 23 World Cup-winning players for her selection, but can choose from the under-23s who have not signed up to the statement initially made on August 25.

Under Spain’s Sport Law, the players who are refusing to play could face fines of between €3,000 and €30,000 and could also see their playing licences suspended between two and 15 years.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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