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Spanish Football Federation argue with women’s national team over coach Jorge Vilda as 15 players ask not to be selected

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Less than a year before the 2023 Women’s World Cup, Spain’s national team is embroiled in a public feud with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) over coach Jorge Vilda. On Thursday, 15 players sent emails to the RFEF asking not to be selected for the national team.

Those players did not mention their specific frustrations with Vilda, but they are “dissatisfied with the injury treatment, the atmosphere in the dressing room, Vilda’s team selection and his training sessions.” according to a report from ESPN.

The RFEF released its own statement at the request of the players, calling it “an unprecedented situation in the history of football, for both men and women, in Spain and worldwide.” The RFEF also targeted the players, saying the coaching decisions hadn’t been theirs, adding that they would only be allowed to rejoin the team in the future if they “accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness”.

“The RFEF will not allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, as making those decisions is not within their competence.” the RFEF said in its statement:. “The Federation will not allow any kind of pressure from a player when taking sports measures. These kinds of maneuvers are far from exemplary and outside the values ​​of football and sport and are harmful.”

In response to the RFEF, the 15 players who requested not to be elected released a statement denying firing Vilda, but admitting that they did provide feedback on how the work environment could be improved.

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“We want a firm commitment to a professional project in which all aspects are taken care of to get the best performance from a group of players who we believe can achieve more and better goals,” the players wrote in their statement. “We never asked for the manager’s resignation, as stated. We understand that it is by no means our job to choose this role, but it is to express in a constructive and honest way what we believe to be the performance of the group could improve.”

American soccer legend Megan Rapinoe showed her support for the Spanish players with an Instagram post.

“You have 16th status with you in America,” Rapinoe said in her post. “So many players together in this way is so powerful. We should all listen.”

The Women’s World Cup in 2023 starts on July 20, 2023 in Australia and New Zealand.

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