Jorge Vilda: why do Spain women’s team want manager sacked? Which players have emailed RFEF and their response

The former Barcelona and Real Madrid youth player has been under pressure since losing to England at Euro 2022 earlier this year

The Spain women’s national football team has been plunged into crisis after 15 players wrote to the RFEF declaring themselves unavailable for selection so long as head coach Jorge Vilda remains in charge of the side.

In response, the Royal Spanish Football Federation has released a statement addressing the individuals who have come forward.

The 41-year old has been in charge of the side since 2015 and led them to the quarter-finals of EURO 2022 where they were eliminated by eventual winners England, despite being the pre-tournament favourites.

Here is what we know so far about the situation including which players have threatened to make themselves unavailable for selection, what the RFEF have said in response and reports as to why the players are revolting:

Why do some Spain players want their manager sacked?

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Although the details surrounding the situation are still somewhat foggy, the Daily Mail have quoted “sources close to the situation” and claim that the players are “unhappy with the management of injuries, the atmosphere in the locker room, Vilda’s team selection and his training sessions.”

However, there is no public statement that has been released either by or on behalf of the 15 players involved at this time.

Who are the 15 Spanish women’s national team players involved?

The emails are said to have been sent to the RFEF on Thursday and came from the following players (per The Guardian):

  • Patri Guijarro
  • Mapi León
  • Aitana Bonmatí
  • Mariona Caldentey
  • Sandra Paños
  • Andrea Pereira
  • Clàudia Pina
  • Ona Batlle, 
  • Laia Aleixandri
  • Leila Ouahabi
  • Ainhoa Vicente
  • Lucía García
  • Lola Gallardo
  • Amaiur Sarriegi
  • Nerea Eizagirre

Guijarro, León, Bonmatí, Caldentey, Paños, Pereira and Pina all play their club football for Barcelona while WSL followers will know Batlle and García from Manchester United and Aleixandri and Ouahabi from Manchester City.

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Among the more high profile names who have not joined their teammates in writing to the federation are captain Irene Paredes and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putella.

What have the RFEF said in response?

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) issued a response to the emails in which they said: “The Real Federación Espanola de Futbol communicates that, throughout today, it has received 15 emails from 15 players of the women’s senior football team, coincidentally all with the same wording, in which they state that the current situation generated affects ‘significantly’ their ‘emotional state’ and their ‘health’ and that, ‘as long as it is not reversed’, they resign from the Spanish national team.

“The RFEF is not going to allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their powers. The Federation will not admit any type of pressure from any player when adopting sports measures. These types of manoeuvres are far from exemplary and outside the values of football and sport and are harmful.

“In accordance with current Spanish legislation, not attending a national team call is classified as a very serious infraction and can carry sanctions of between two and five years of disqualification. The RFEF, contrary to the way these players act, wants to make it clear that it will not take them to this extreme or pressure them. Directly, it will not summon the soccer players who do not want to wear the Spain shirt. The Federation will only have committed footballers even if they have to play with youth.

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“This fact has gone from being a sporting issue to a dignity issue. The selection is non-negotiable. It is an unprecedented situation in the history of football, both male and female, in Spain and worldwide.

“The national team needs players committed to the project, defending our colours and proud to wear the Spain shirt. The players who have submitted their resignation will only return to the discipline of the national team in the future if they accept their mistake and ask for forgiveness.”