The Spanish women’s football team is in an “unprecedented” crisis after a row between 15 players and national team coach Jorge Vilda.
The group of players threatened to quit the team unless Vilda was sacked by the Spanish football federation (RFEF).
The 15 women said in identical emails that the team environment ‘seriously’ affected their ’emotional state’ and ‘health’, according to a RFEF declaration.
But the federation had pledged its support for Vilda on Thursday and rejected the complaints.
“The RFEF will not allow players to question the continuity of the national coach and his technical staff, as making such decisions is outside their competence,” he said.
“The Federation will not allow any form of pressure from any player when it comes to adopting sporting measures. This type of maneuver is far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sport and is harmful.”
Under Spanish rules, players can be disqualified from the national football team for two to five years if they refuse to play when called up.
The federation said it would not take this step but would only select the 15 players again if they “accept their mistake and apologise”.
“[We] will not call up players who do not wish to wear the Spain jersey,” added the RFEF. “The Federation will only rely on committed players, even if they have to play with youngsters.”
“It has gone from a sporting matter to a matter of dignity. The national team is not negotiable. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football, men’s and women’s, in Spain and in the world. “
Spain lost to eventual champions England in the quarter-finals of the European Women’s Championship this summer.