The majority of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad have agreed to end their boycott after “profound changes” to the Spanish football federation (RFEF) were promised, according to National Sports Council (CSD) president Victor Francos.
A decision was reached in the early hours of Wednesday morning following a lengthy meeting between the players, RFEF officials and the CSD in a hotel in Oliva.
Fifteen players of the group from this summer’s tournament were on Monday named in new head coach Montse Tome’s squad for the Nations League encounters with Sweden and Switzerland.
But 21 of the 23-player contingent had already stated they would not play for their country again until major changes had occurred within the RFEF, in the wake of former president Luis Rubiales kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony in Australia.
Later on Wednesday, the RFEF appeared to clarify the “profound changes” alluded to by Francos and also “dispensed with the services” of its general secretary Andreu Camps.
A lengthy statement read: “The RFEF is aware of the absolute need to start a new stage and close the institutional crisis that opened after the national team’s victory in the World Cup.
“The Federation wants to show its support to all the internationals who are going through these unwanted circumstances; and reiterates its apologies for what happened after the World Cup victory to each of them and, in particular, to Jenni Hermoso, immersed in a situation that she did not create. We will always support them.
“It is important to point out, given the events of the last few hours, that at no time has it been the intention of the RFEF to provide more noise and pressure on the players.”
The statement added: “During the last few days we have reiterated our public commitment to make structural changes to begin this new, absolutely necessary stage that respects criteria of good governance, transparency and equality.
“We understand that the players need to feel that the Federation is their home, a safe environment where they can show their professionalism and sporting quality while displaying the privilege of representing Spain.
“The steps taken so far by the current leadership of the RFEF have always sought this objective. However, we recognise that until yesterday we have not managed to create a climate of trust with the internationals.
“We have accelerated the changes planned by the Federation and we have communicated this decision to both the CSD and the international players.
“Spanish football deserves absolute recognition, and all of us who are part of it must unite to achieve it.”
The statement comes following the possible threat of sanctions to the squad for refusing to play for their country.
“We’ve had several meetings that were conducted in an extremely cordial atmosphere in which people were able to speak freely,” Francos said, according to Spanish sports newspaper AS, earlier on Wednesday.
“We covered all issues. In terms of conclusions: firstly, we’ve reached a series of agreements that will be signed tomorrow by the RFEF and the CSD.
“Furthermore, a mixed commission will be created involving three parties – the federation, the CSD and the players – to monitor the (implementation) of those agreements, which are related to the development of Spain’s sports law in terms of gender policies, pay equality and furthering the infrastructure of women’s sport.
“The players also conveyed to us the need to make profound changes (in personnel at the RFEF). These changes are to happen immediately, and will be announced by the RFEF.”
The players had reluctantly turned up for duty on Tuesday amid talk of fines or suspension under Spanish sports law for “unjustified lack of attendance”, with Hermoso accusing the RFEF of intimidation in her own statement on Tuesday.
Goalkeeper Misa Rodriguez also answered “no” when asked by reporters if she was happy to be part of Tome’s squad when a group of Madrid-based players met at a hotel in the Spanish capital before they travelled to their nation’s training base near Valencia.
However, lengthy talks between the players, RFEF and CSD officials resulted in the boycott ending, although two players will leave the camp ahead of Friday’s match in Sweden.
The RFEF also confirmed the men’s and women’s Spanish national teams would now share a single logo and branding – Seleccion Espanola de Futbol – translating to ‘Spanish national team’.
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