Two Spain players to leave squad as talks lead to “series of agreements”
Twenty-one players are to stay with Montse Tomé's Spain squad after late-night talks yielded agreements over changes at the RFEF, the Spanish sports minister said.
Two players are to leave the squad for Spain’s upcoming games, it has been confirmed, after lengthy talks late last night brought a “series of agreements” over changes to the Spanish women’s national team set-up and the departures of further Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) officials.
Talks held after unhappy Spain players join squad
Announced by the Spanish sports minister, Víctor Francos, the developments came at the end of a dramatic day on which stoney-faced players had been left with little choice but to report for international duty, despite stating their intention to boycott a call-up from Spain’s new head coach, Montse Tomé.
On Monday, Tomé had caused surprise by naming a Spain squad including 21 of 39 players who had made themselves unavailable for selection until a range of major structural changes were made. As Spain’s Sports Law provides for hefty fines and even club bans for players who refuse to accept a call-up, they were left with no option but to turn up.
In yesterday’s talks between Spain squad members, coaching staff, RFEF officials and Francos, players sought and received assurances that they would not be punished if they finally opted to leave Tomé's squad. They also remained insistent that further RFEF employees had to follow former president Luis Rubiales and former head coach Jorge Vilda in leaving the federation.
Rubiales resigned as RFEF chief on 11 September, three weeks after kissing forward Jenni Hermoso without her consent as Spain celebrated their Women’s World Cup final win over England. Vilda was replaced by Tomé on 5 September.
Hermoso was not called up for the upcoming UEFA Women’s Nations League clashes with Sweden and Switzerland, with Tomé explaining that she had omitted the Pachuca player “to protect her”. This elicited a withering response from Hermoso, who retorted in a statement: “Protect me from what? Or from whom?”
What did sports minister say about negotiations?
Speaking to reporters after negotiations concluded last night, Francos said: “We’ve had several meetings that were conducted in an extremely cordial atmosphere in which people were able to speak freely. We covered all issues. In terms of conclusions: firstly, we’ve reached a series of agreements that will be signed tomorrow by the RFEF and the CSD [the Spanish government’s National Sports Council].
“Furthermore, a mixed commission will be created involving three parties - the federation, the CSD and the players - to monitor [the implementation of] those agreements, which are related to the development of Spain’s Sports Law in terms of gender policies, pay equality and furthering the infrastructure of women’s sport.
“The players also conveyed to us the need to make profound changes [in personnel at the RFEF]. These changes are to happen immediately, and will be announced by the RFEF.” It is expected that RFEF secretary-general Andreu Camps, integrity department head Miguel García Caba, and legal adviser Tomás González Cueto, a figure who had worked particularly closely with Rubiales, will leave the organisation.
León, Guijarro “aren’t in right frame of mind”
Francos added: “Two players have said they aren’t in the right frame of mind and have asked to leave the squad […]. Twenty-one players have expressed their desire to stay.” The identity of the players who have departed the Spain camp was not initially revealed, but they were later confirmed to be Barcelona pair Mapi León and Patri Guijarro, who are among the internationals who had earlier stated their opposition to receiving a call-up.
Spain are due to play Sweden in Gothenburg on Friday, before hosting Switzerland in Córdoba on Tuesday.