Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2023
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41 Spanish footballers resign as nation rocked by further fallout to Luis Rubiales saga | Football | Sport

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) remains embroiled in controversy with 41 players reportedly insisting they will not represent the women’s national team. It is claimed in the Spanish media that players are refusing to return to the Spain set-up until there has been systemic change in the federation.

A meeting held on Thursday concluded with 41 players saying they would not play for Spain until change occurred in the wake of Luis Rubiales’s kiss on Jenni Hermoso. All 23 players who won the World Cup alongside a further 18 have said they will not represent their country while the saga continues.

Hermoso made a formal complaint against the former RFEF president Rubiales earlier this month. Rubiales appeared in a Spanish court on Friday and denies the allegations of sexual assault and coercion.

Spain head coach Montse Tome was due to announce her squad on Friday for Spain’s upcoming fixtures Sweden and Switzerland. However, that has been postponed over the strike.

According to El Espanol, a meeting involving players and their FUTPro union representatives lasted long into Thursday evening. It concluded with 41 stars insisting they will not play for Spain until there is ‘systemic change’ within the Spanish football authority.

The federation have made a few changes, including the sacking of head coach Jorge Vilda. Rubiales finally resigned last week. But the players insist that is not enough.

An excerpt of a statement shared by all players reads: “The changes made are not enough for the players to feel safe, where women are respected, where there is support for women’s football and where we can maximise our potential.”

The players have demanded sweeping changes including the removal of high-ranking individuals from their roles. They also want those close to Rubiales to be moved on after some were seen clapping the former defender during a chaotic press conference in which he furiously refused to resign.

Spanish players allegedly also believe senior figures wanted to coerce Hermoso into appearing in an apology video alongside Rubiales and Vilda. Olga Carmona, the World Cup-winning scorer and captain, warned the strike will go on as her team-mates “continue along that line of growth and improvements to be able to develop our profession at the highest level.”

Rubiales finally stood down from his position last week, bizarrely choosing to do so during an interview with television host Piers Morgan on Sunday. Rubiales testified at Spain’s High Court on Friday, charged with sexual assault and coercion.

It continues a month-long saga following Spain’s World Cup triumph on August 20. Rubiales kissed Hermoso on the lips during the trophy presentation, with the Spanish forward alleging that it was non-consensual. Rubiales denies the allegations.

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