Twenty-one of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad have issued a statement saying the resignation of Luis Rubiales is “not enough” to trigger their return to national team duty.
A group of 81 players, including all 23 members of the World Cup squad, released a statement last month indicating they would not play for Spain again while Rubiales remained in post.
He finally announced his resignation as the Spanish federation (RFEF) president last Sunday after weeks of criticism over his behaviour at the World Cup final, where he kissed Spain player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation. Hermoso insists she did not consent to the kiss.
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However, the large majority of the victorious squad remain unavailable for this month’s Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland, saying they are not yet “in a safe place” to return and that the problems at the RFEF run far deeper than Rubiales.
The statement, which includes the signatures of star names such as Hermoso, Alexia Putellas, Olga Carmona and former Manchester United player Ona Batlle, said: “Today, as we have transmitted to the RFEF, the changes that have occurred are not enough for the players to feel in a safe place, where women are respected, where there is a commitment to women’s football and where we can give our maximum performance.
“The players of the Spanish team are professional players, and what fills us most with pride is wearing the shirt of our team and always leading our country to the highest positions.
“For this reason, we believe that it is time to fight to show that these situations and practices have no place in our football or in our society and that the current structure needs changes. We do it so that the next generations can have a much more equal game that we all deserve.”
The statement calls for a restructuring of the women’s football department, the RFEF’s presidential cabinet and general secretariat, the communications department and the integrity department.
The statement is also signed by a number of players who withdrew from the Spain squad last year over conditions within the national team set-up, including Mapi Leon and Patricia Guijarro. In all, 39 players were signatories to the statement.