The federation said it was “an unprecedented situation in the history of football, men’s and women’s, in Spain and in the world”.
The players said in their letters that the “current situation” had significantly affected their “emotional state and health”, according to the federation.
Spanish soccer star Alexia Putellas challenged the RFEF’s characterization that footballers quit, in her own statement on social media on Friday.
“In no case have we resigned from the Spanish national team, as the RFEF states in its official statement. As we said in our private email, we have maintained, continue to maintain and will continue to maintain an unquestionable commitment to the Spanish national team”, the 2021 Ballon d’Or winner.
“That is why we ask in our letter to the RFEF not to be called up to the national team until they have remedied the situations which affect our mental and personal well-being, our performances, and consequently, the results of the national team which could lead to unwanted injuries. These are the reasons why we have made this decision.”
The players had been unhappy with injury management, the dressing room atmosphere, Vilda’s squad selection and her training sessions, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the situation.
Two-time World Cup winner and United States Women’s National Team star Megan Rapinoe took to Instagram on Thursday night to support the players, saying, “You have a 16th [player] standing with you in [US flag emoji] This large number of players together like this is so powerful. We should all listen.”
The RFEF seem to stand by the coach. The federation said it “will not allow players to question the continuity of the national coach and his technical staff, as making these decisions is outside their powers”.
“The federation will not accept any type of pressure from any player when adopting sporting measures. These types of maneuvers are far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sport and are harmful” , he added.
The RFEF said players would not be allowed to return to the national team unless they “accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.
In his statement, Putellas disagreed with the RFEF’s claim that the players were calling for changes in the national team’s coaching staff.
“We have never asked for the dismissal of a coach as has been reported,” the two-time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year winner wrote.
“We understand that our job is in no way to decide this position, but we can express, constructively and honestly, what we think can improve the performance of the team,” she said. .
Turning is a high risk move for players. The federation said refusing to honor a national team call-up was classed as “a very serious offense and can result in penalties of two and five years disqualification”.