The players negotiate their departure from the national team concentration

Oliva witnessed a day that will forever mark the history of Spanish women's football.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
19 September 2023 Tuesday 04:21
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The players negotiate their departure from the national team concentration

Oliva witnessed a day that will forever mark the history of Spanish women's football. For the first time, the players sat face to face with the president of the Higher Sports Council (CSD), Víctor Francos, to try to unblock the tense situation that exists in the Spanish Federation. The 22 soccer players – Esther Gónzalez was not present, who was dropped from the list due to an injury – spoke until late into the night with the mediator that the Government had sent looking for a way out. The players do not want to be there, at least not 21 of them – Athenea del Castillo was the only one who did not sign the letter in which they asked not to be called up – and they are looking for a consensual solution that guarantees they will not be sanctioned.

The meeting started well into the night as it had to be delayed due to the breakdown of the plane that was supposed to bring the Barcelona footballers and at the time of going to press the conversations had not ended. “I don't imagine that they could be sanctioned, we will find solutions sooner,” promised the Minister of Culture and Sports, Miquel Iceta hours before. A true declaration of intent for the task that he had entrusted to Víctor Francos. The Government's priority is that any footballer who wishes to leave the concentration can do so without reprisals: "If a player is not comfortable, does not feel comfortable and does not want to be there, I believe that the most normal thing is that she is naturally dismissed and called up." to another, without any sanction.”

Since last August 25, more than 80 active and retired footballers shouted 'it's over' for the dismissal of Luis Rubiales after the embarrassing behavior of the president of the Spanish Federation during the World Cup final in Sydney, the tension with the players has only increased. The federative body has systematically refused to commit in writing to carrying out the structural changes demanded by the footballers and by the CSD itself, making coexistence impossible.

The situation yesterday reached such an unsustainable point that the Government was forced to intervene. Minister Iceta promised that the CSD would get involved “personally to find a solution” and urged the Federation to “change the federative structures” to make it “a space of security, competitiveness and professionalism.” An image that is not the one that the Federation gave by summoning the footballers as a legal imperative. Yesterday, the Spanish internationals experienced one of the most difficult days of their careers. 20 of the 23 mentioned had expressly and publicly requested not to be summoned. Against their will, they were forced to attend one of the most surreal calls in memory. It was not in Las Rozas, on the advice of the CSD, which suggested a neutral place. Thus, the Federation summoned part of the soccer players to a hotel in Madrid near the airport and the rest to Valencia. Misa Rodríguez was the earliest riser. The Real Madrid goalkeeper appeared at the concentration hotel after 11 in the morning with a serious face and responded with a blunt “no” to the journalists' question about whether she was happy to be on Tomé's list. One by one the internationals paraded with a serious countenance. Also in Barcelona, ​​where Alexia Putellas, very serious, answered the journalists: “Well, how am I going to be?” Or Mapi León, even more forceful: “We would have to talk at length about whether it is a safe place or not when they are forcing me to go.” The Blaugrana headquarters missed the World Cup because they considered that the improvements implemented by the Federation were not enough. Despite having been out of the national team for a year, Tomé also included her on the list.

The Barça footballers lived an odyssey to get to Oliva. A breakdown in their plane delayed the departure of the flight for two hours, increasing the discomfort of some soccer players who are going through an ordeal. The tired gesture of the soccer players showed that the uncertainty of recent weeks had given way to anger. The one who woke up in the internationals when they heard her name called on Monday in Las Rozas. When Montse Tomé tried to make everyone believe that there had been a rapprochement when the distance was greater than ever. The Asturian could not have had a worse debut as a coach. “I'm not Jorge Vilda,” she said in her introduction. It's true, the Madrid native never dared to go that far. The Federation asked for “mutual trust” and betrayed them by summoning them by force. “The players are very bad. I have told Rocha that I am very angry,” said Francos, who confessed that the RFEF also lied to him: “Yesterday at two in the afternoon I was told that no one who did not want to be summoned would be summoned.”

In this climate of hostility, FC Barcelona decided to send along with its eight players – nine including María Pérez, on loan to Sevilla – the sports director Markel Zubizarreta and the team psychologist, Marc Sellarès. The club, through the director responsible for women's soccer, ”. Puig regretted that this situation had come to pass and warned that “it is not an issue that has been going on for two days.” “It was a matter of consensus, of speaking a lot and speaking well. “What is happening is not good for women's football, nor for sport in general,” he stated.

Now we will have to see how the situation is resolved and with which team Montse Tomé can travel tomorrow to Göteborg where the Spanish team must face Sweden on Friday (6:30 p.m.) in its debut in the Nations League.