Several members of Spain’s women’s team published a statement on Friday criticising the Spanish football federation (RFEF) for claiming they had decided to retire from international duty and for making details public from an email they had sent.
Late on Thursday the RFEF published a statement implying 15 players were threatening not to play unless coach Jorge Vilda was sacked, criticising them and saying they would not be considered for selection again unless they apologised and admitted their mistake.
However, the players, along with 2021 Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who was not reported to be among those who sent the initial email to the RFEF, responded, saying they had not retired.
“In no case have we resigned from the Spanish national team as the RFEF points out in their official statement,” read the letter published by the players on social media.
“We have maintained and will continue to maintain an unquestionable commitment to the Spanish national team.
“That is why we requested, in our communication sent to the RFEF, not to be called up until situations are changed which affect our emotional and personal state, our performance, and consequently the results of the national team and could cause undesirable injuries.”
The players also denied asking for the dismissal of Vilda as was insinuated by the RFEF’s statement.
“We understand our job is not to choose who is in that position, but to express constructively and honestly what we consider can improve the performance of the group,” added the players.
The disagreement has been greeted in different ways, with Marca’s front page on Friday morning labelling the players’ actions “blackmail”, while former two-time women’s World Cup winner with the USA, Megan Rapinoe, backed the players with a message on Instagram.
“You got a 16th (player) standing with you in the US,” wrote Rapinoe.
“This many players together like this is so powerful. We should all listen.”