Friday December 08, 2023

Putellas, Paredes say Spain players staying to promote change

September 23, 2023

BARCELONA: Spain players Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes have said that the majority of the squad agreed to stay to advance change within the Spanish football federation, after they were called up to play for the women´s national team against their will.

New coach Montse Tome selected a squad which was almost all on strike for upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland, with players only reporting for duty Tuesday because they felt threatened by potential sanctions.

The Spanish government intervened and held overnight crisis talks with the players and the federation, with a deal eventually reached Wednesday morning which saw 21 players stay and two depart.

"We decided to stay, not exactly because we are comfortable -- given the whole situation all month, and how we were called up," Barcelona defender Paredes told a news conference in Gothenburg.

"But it´s what we think we have to do, for the deals that were made to happen, and for all this to advance." Two-time Ballon d´Or winner Putellas believed the meeting could be a decisive moment in women´s sport.

"It could be a point where there´s a before and after, I really think so," said Putellas. "I believe that the agreements that we stayed up all night for, will make our sport and women´s sport, and in consequence society, a lot better."

Paredes also said the squad felt a burden of responsibility because if they refused to participate, then U23 players may have had to fill in for them. "It´s like passing a bomb to players with maybe less experience," continued Paredes.

"All we want to do is play football in dignified conditions where we are respected. That´s why we are trying to change things so in some (future) moment, all that the players have to do is play."

Spanish football has been rocked over the last month after the disgraced former president of their football federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales, forcibly kissed midfielder Jenni Hermoso following Spain´s Women´s World Cup victory on August 20. Rubiales resigned after a worldwide backlash against his actions and controversial women´s team coach Jorge Vilda was sacked, replaced by Tome.