Africa-Press – Eritrea. After a seven-hour overnight meeting, the head of Spain’s sports council announced Wednesday morning that 21 of the 23 players called upon to play for Spain’s national women’s team have “shown willingness” to play in Friday’s match against Sweden.
At least 15 of the players had vowed to boycott the national team until Spain’s football federation underwent major reforms.
The federation was earlier led by Luis Rubiales, who triggered a huge scandal after kissing a female player and refusing to admit wrongdoing. But even before then, the players had been publicly complaining about intolerable working conditions and some top players had even refused to play in the World Cup, which Spain won.
The team was plunged into fresh chaos this week after the federation called upon players to play for team Spain who had publicly said they were on strike. Many players said that the move to force them to play was yet another sign of disrespect.
Under Spanish law, players who refuse to represent the national team when called upon face years of disqualification and fines ranging from €3,000 to €30,000 ($3,200 to $32,00). Amid the potential for another blow up, Spain’s National Sports Council intervened.
Headed by Victor Francos, the sports council negotiated all night with the federation and the players, eventually reaching an agreement.
“The first thing we agreed was that any players who were not happy with playing would not be sanctioned,” Francos announced at around 5 a.m. local time (0300 GMT). “We also reached a series of agreements that have been written and signed by the federation and the sports council.”
Amanda Guiterrez, president of the women’s union Futpro, said the parties agreed to create a joint commission that includes the federation, players, and the sports council. The council will be in charge of reforming sticking points like the organizational chart and strategic plan for women’s football.
Meanwhile, any player who still refused to play would be “deselected” from the team to avoid punishment.
It is not yet known which two players are still refusing to play, but Guiterrez said all the women “made their decisions freely.”