It’s Monday. Three days have passed since it was postponed sine the the call of the new national coach of the women’s soccer team, Montse Tomé. And it is still not publicly known whether the players and the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) have reached an agreement for the players to wear the Spain shirt again, the one with which they were proclaimed world champions on August 20.
The federation has once again called a press conference for this Monday afternoon, at 4:30 p.m., to serve as an official presentation of Tomé and, at the same time, the coach can finally offer the squad list for the Nations League match against Sweden, which must be played on Friday the 22nd. The preparation of said list is part of a latent crisis since the resignation of 3 p.m. in September 2022 and accentuated after the kiss that former president Luis Rubiales planted on forward Jenni Hermoso in the middle of the world title celebrations in Sydney. A few hours after winning the World Cup, the players began a plan that has lasted until now. And the RFEF responds today with that call and with a new statement in which he insists on “the public commitment acquired by the new management of the institution that directs football in Spain”now in the hands of the interim president, Pedro Rocha, successor of the resigned Rubiales.
In a note that, they say, they have also conveyed to the soccer players, the federation wants to “express clearly, and without internal or external interpretations, the strategic axes in this new stage of the federation that both soccer and society demand.” They are aware, they say, “of the need to make structural changes,” as the soccer players demand. Something that, they point out, Rocha has already begun to materialize in recent times and has led them to make “difficult decisions in recent days” because they are convinced that a renewal is “necessary.” For this reason, the statement adds, “the players are urged to join this change led by the Federation, understanding that the transformations that must continue must be solid and fair.”
The federation, through the new interlocutor in charge of resuming the conversations, Loli Martínez Madrona, referee and delegate for Protection of Sexual Violence at the RFEF, had given an ultimatum to the players this past weekend. They had to give an answer before the end of Sunday. But the clock struck 12 at night and in Las Rozas they still had no news about the soccer players. The players went to bed without having reached an agreement. And they decided to continue talking during the morning of this Monday.
On the table they had a proposal that the federation understood as more than reasonable. And that they received willingly, although they lacked specificity and guarantees. “On Sunday they reached an agreement on what to do in all the departments that were involved in the management of Jenni Hermoso’s case. They verbally agreed that there will be changes and what those changes will be, but they want guarantees that it will be like that. They have been deceived many times before,” say sources close to the world champions. The players did not want to take a wrong step. That is why they asked that this agreement be in writing. They assume that dismissals and new appointments cannot be made overnight, but they want to be sure that they are not being deceived, as happened in their day when the 15 o’clock crisis was resolved without a firm commitment to change. They were put under pressure with the proximity of the World Cup and it worked. “But for them the World Cup was just a parenthesis. Now, they are even more united than then, even though some are trying to break that unity. The 39 that have stayed are going together,” the same sources state. They know that it is their moment and they are not going to waste it.
In addition to assuming that first point of the five that the national team players demanded, the remodeling “of the women’s football organization chart”, which should have, in addition to a coach, who will continue to be Montse Tomé, with a sports management and a person responsible for the lower categories, in the image and likeness of the structures of the men’s team, the federation tried to resolve the rest of the somewhat more complex issues. The players asked for a profound restructuring and, for now, only the coach Jorge Vilda has left, in addition to the president, forced to resign due to social and political pressure.
In the statement issued by the soccer players last Friday, they pointed out five points to a series of people and positions in the RFEF, demanding a clean bill of health. In the offices of Las Rozas they assume that some of these demands respond to what happened in the last month, to how some of the people closest to the now former president Luis Rubiales behaved and moved. For example, Rubén Riveira, director of marketing, and Albert Luque, sports director of the Spanish team, friend and right-hand man of Rubiales. Riviera and Luque traveled to Ibiza at the end of August to pressure Hermoso and other players to support the version of the then president. The federations understand that the players demand clarification of responsibilities in that sense. However, they point out many other names, known in the house, despite not having publicly given their names and surnames, and not in all of these cases it has been argued why they want them out, they explain from Las Rozas. They, however, consider that all of these identified positions were involved in one way or another in the management of the Rubiales case and the non-consensual kiss to Jenni Hermoso: in the published statements, the pressure on the player, her family and her teammates, in the discredit of the Madrid soccer player and her lack of protection in the face of a case of abuse of power. Other proper names come in here: Andreu Camps, general secretary, or Pablo García Cuervo, communications director, who were already very weakened in the eyes of the footballers after their management in the 15 crisis, due to their harshness towards those whom they in their day they were called rebels and called “liñatas”.
For this reason, because some believe they are victims of a settling of accounts, the federation has asked the players to identify those people they point out and to justify their accusations, so that a disciplinary file can be opened to verify said statements. accusations and try to resolve the problem. “You cannot fire a handful of people without first knowing exactly what happened,” say federal sources. Meanwhile, the RFEF has committed, from the outset, that none of these people appear for the women’s team concentrations, the first, imminent, before the celebration of the Nations League match against Sweden next Friday the 22nd.
In the statement issued this Monday, which is the same one that has been transferred to the footballers, the federation concludes: “We guarantee a safe environment for the players and we are committed to a climate of mutual trust so that we can work together and achieve that women’s football continue to progress with much more strength. We must begin to show off the star that the internationals have achieved with so much effort.” This is how, with those words of harmony and with a public commitment to change, the federation tries to resolve the crisis unleashed by the Rubiales case and the refusal of the champions to return to the national team.
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