Almost all of Spain’s women’s footballers have decided to end their boycott and represent their country in the upcoming Nations League matches against Sweden and Switzerland. In a marathon seven-hour meeting that concluded just before 5 am on Wednesday, 21 out of 23 players called up for the Spain squad agreed to play, contingent on the government’s commitment to immediate and profound changes within the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
The aftermath of Spain’s historic Women’s World Cup victory was marred by controversy when RFEF’s president, Luis Rubiales, kissed forward Jenni Hermoso after the final, a kiss that sparked outrage and became a symbol of broader issues. The government has promised to document all the agreements reached during these negotiations, and further changes within the RFEF are expected. However, one stark reality remains unchanged: the financial disparity between men’s and women’s football.
Victor Francos, representing the government’s national sports agency, initiated the meeting, offering an apology and asking the players to outline their concerns. This set the stage for an honest and lengthy conversation, leading to additional meetings between the players and the RFEF. The players also met with the new national coach, Montse Tome, whose appointment has not garnered their confidence.
While the controversial kiss was the tipping point, the underlying issue was always the unequal treatment and lack of respect faced by the women’s team compared to their male counterparts. The hashtag #SeAcabo, used by Alexia Putellas to signify this movement, aims to end unacceptable behaviors that may not be illegal but are normalized within society. It’s a reminder that football often reflects the broader social landscape.
This movement seeks to challenge not only the football establishment but also the patriarchy ingrained throughout Spanish society, including the media. The fight for equality is far from over, and the focus should not shift prematurely. This isn’t the end; it’s merely the beginning of a necessary change.
The mishandling of the situation by the RFEF has been conspicuous, starting with Rubiales’ inappropriate celebration kiss. The federation’s subsequent actions were marked by incompetence, losing both credibility and the moral high ground. While Rubiales was part of the problem, he wasn’t the sole issue.
Notably absent from the conversation are Spain’s male players, who enjoy far better conditions and privileges. Their silence speaks volumes about the systemic issues at play. A few male players, such as Isco, Hector Bellerin, and Borja Iglesias, have shown support, but many have remained conspicuously silent.
The women’s players’ goals have become clearer as they demand change, both within the team and within the RFEF. The immediate future holds crucial Nations League matches that serve as play-offs for the next Olympic Games. Questions persist about Coach Tome’s suitability for the job, given the world champions’ desire for a world-class coach.
A committee has been established to address the issues at hand, with representatives from the players, the FA, and the government. The hope is that the government’s findings will lead to immediate changes within the RFEF and ensure the safety and equality of Spanish women’s players. Beyond football, this movement may serve as a turning point in Spanish society’s approach to women’s rights, ushering in much-needed change.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gender Equality in Football
What triggered the controversy surrounding Spain’s women’s football team?
The controversy was sparked by a kiss between Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), and forward Jenni Hermoso after the Women’s World Cup final. This kiss, which Hermoso claimed was not consensual, became a symbol of deeper issues within the women’s football setup.
What were the main issues that the players wanted to address?
The players’ concerns extended beyond the controversial kiss. They were primarily focused on unequal treatment compared to the men’s team and a lack of respect from various departments within the RFEF. Their movement, symbolized by the hashtag #SeAcabo, aimed to address these issues and challenge unacceptable behaviors.
How did the government get involved in this matter?
Victor Francos, representing the government’s national sports agency, initiated a meeting between the players, RFEF, and the government. The government took a stance in support of the players and pushed for changes within the RFEF, highlighting the significance of this issue beyond football.
What immediate changes are expected within the RFEF?
The RFEF has already taken steps, such as sacking the general secretary and apologizing for its actions. A committee with representatives from the players, the FA, and the government has been established to address the issues at hand. The hope is that the government’s findings will lead to more profound changes within the federation.
How is this movement impacting broader Spanish society?
This movement seeks to challenge not only the football establishment but also the patriarchy prevalent throughout Spanish society. By raising awareness about women’s rights and equality, it may serve as a catalyst for change in various sectors, including the media and society as a whole.