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After government intervention, players cease their boycott of Spain’s women’s national team

<p>Early on Wednesday, the majority of Spain’s World Cup champion players decided to stop their boycott of the women’s national team, but only after the government stepped in to assist negotiate a deal for quick reforms at the struggling national soccer association. After getting assurances from the government that they wouldn’t be punished, two players, Barcelona teammates Patri Guijarro and Mapi León, decided to leave the training camp in the eastern city of Valencia; the others remained after learning that some of their requests for change would be satisfied.</p>
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In the latest development in the crisis that has engulfed Spanish soccer since former federation president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the awards ceremony following Spain’s Women’s World Cup victory in Australia last month, the players reported to camp on Tuesday after being selected against their will by new coach Montse Tomé the day before.</p>
<p>Since the players declared on August 25 that they would not play again for their nation until the federation had new leadership, they have been in open rebellion for more than three weeks. The players continued to hold out until the federation underwent extensive change when Rubiales resigned.</p>
<p>Alexia Putellas, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, was among the bulk of those who remained. Nevertheless, she admitted to reporters after practice in Valencia that “I don’t feel great about being here.”</p>
<p>Although the agreement’s terms weren’t made public right away after the meeting, which ended at around five in the morning on Wednesday, the federation didn’t waste any time in declaring that its secretary general, Andreu Camps, was being let go. One of the adjustments that the players had wanted was the departure of Camps, who was seen to be close to Rubiales.</p>
<p>Steps have been taken, according to Amanda Gutiérrez, head of the FUTPRO players’ union, to ensure that Spain’s men’s and women’s national teams get the same treatment. In order to further professionalize the squad and staff, Gutiérrez added, “an agreement has been reached to make modifications to the organization of women’s soccer, so that the executive and administrative personnel would equal that of the men’s team.</p>
<p>The “cordial meetings” resulted in the formation of a committee with participation from players, the federation, and the government, according to Vctor Francos, Spain’s Secretary for Sports and President of the Higher Council for Sports. According to him, the agreements should enhance gender equality and salary parity while also bringing about structural reforms in women’s soccer.</p>
<p>The organization also took the action of removing the phrase “de femenino,” or “women’s soccer,” from the team’s name. Both the men’s and women’s national teams will henceforth be referred to as “Selección Espaola de Ftbol,” or “Spain’s national soccer team,” the federation said in a statement.</p>
<p>In the announcement, Pedro Rocha, the federation’s interim president, stated, “More than a symbolic change, we want this to represent a conceptual shift, and recognition that soccer is soccer, regardless of who plays it.”</p>
<p>One of the things the players demanded was that Rocha, who took control when Rubiales resigned, also quit. León and Guijarro have not competed for Spain since they participated in a 15-player player rebellion last year, which served as a precursor to the current insurrection. They refused to play for the national team until the federation created a more “professional” working environment.</p>
<p>When León left the squad, he commented, “The situation for Patri (Guijarro) and me is different from our teammates.” “Coming back to the team in this manner was improper. We weren’t prepared to just announce, “Okay, we’re back,” This is a procedure. We are pleased that adjustments are being made, it is true (though).</p>
<p>Acting Minister for Culture and Sports of Spain, Miquel Iceta, expressed optimism that the anticipated federation changes will foster an atmosphere where “the players truly feel motivated, comfortable, and happy to play and to win.”</p>
<p>According to Iceta, the federation intends to have early elections in 2024. “We hope that the renewal of the federation will be a turning point,” Iceta remarked.</p>
<p>Despite claims to the contrary from officials, it is probable that Tomé will need to put in some effort to win back the players’ faith. At the Women’s World Cup, Tomé served as former coach Jorge Vilda’s assistant. She had left during the Rubiales controversy but consented to return after Vilda was sacked to take Vilda’s position.</p>
<p>Tomé chose roughly half of the 39 players, including 15 World Cup champions, who indicated they would not represent their country until their demands were granted on Monday. Tomé said that since Hermoso wasn’t one of them, the choice was made “as a way to protect her.” Hermoso, who said that she did not agree to Rubiales’ kiss, accused the federation of attempting to scare her teammates by selecting them against their will for the national squad.</p>
<p>The team announcement had been scheduled for Friday, but it was delayed because the players and management could not come to an agreement. The players said that the roster announcement took them off guard, but they still arrived at camp because failing to do so would have violated a rule in Spanish sports legislation requiring sportsmen to respond to national team calls unless extenuating circumstances, such as an injury, prevent them from doing so.</p>
<p>Players who refuse to report after being called up by the national team risk penalties or possibly suspension from club play. The government’s sports council would have to receive a request from the federation for such sanctions and determine whether or not to impose them.</p>
<p>Following the discussions, the administration said that it would not pursue any sanctions against the players who chose to quit. Spain will play in the Nations League on Friday against Sweden and on Tuesday against Switzerland.</p>
<p>In order to support Spain’s joint candidacy with Portugal and Morocco to host the men’s World Cup in 2030, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met with Gianni Infantino in New York the same day as the overnight summit. The Rubiales controversy worried Sánchez’s administration that it may harm the candidacy.</p>
<p>Numerous soccer fans, politicians, clubs, and players in Spain have sided with the players in their dispute with the federation. Government officials and feminist organizations</p>
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