Two players have left Spain’s training camp after the team held seven-hour showdown talks with their national federation.
Defender Mapi Leon and midfielder Patri Guijarro are the only players to walk out after the rest of the squad decided to end their boycott following a tumultuous month for the national team in the wake of their World Cup victory. The pair, who also gave up their places at this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand, explained their reasoning on Wednesday morning.
‘It is a reality that our situation is different from that of the rest of our colleagues. We know there have been no ways or means to return. All this is a process. We are happy because it is true that the changes are happening,” Leon told reporters.
Guijarro added, “They are working on those changes. Yesterday we managed to reach that joint committee, and we are doing this together with our colleagues. Obviously, because of the way everything happened, you’re not mentally fit to be there.”
The decision comes after new manager Montse Tome named her first squad since Spain’s World Cup victory earlier this week, despite the players announcing their intention to strike following the Luis Rubiales kiss-gate scandal last month.
Mapi Leon (right) and Patri Gujiarro (left) have left Spain’s training camp after showdown talks with their country’s FA
After a seven-hour meeting, the team decided to end their boycott, but Leon and Gujiarro decided to leave the training camp, as confirmed by CSD president Victor Francos (photo)
The team’s new manager, Montse Tome (center), was also present at the meeting
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Spanish FA president Rubiales kissed star striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the post-match presentation following Spain’s 1-0 win against England in the World Cup final. After weeks of criticism for his behavior, Rubiales eventually resigned and is now accused of assault and coercion.
Spain also sacked their manager Jorge Vilda after the World Cup following complaints from the squad about his coaching methods, and replaced him with Tome.
But the team were still not happy and made it clear that they did not want to represent their country until structural changes were made within the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
The players arrived on Tuesday evening for talks with the RFEF, while members of the National Sports Council (CSD) also attended the meeting.
The meeting lasted seven hours and ended at 4.40am on Wednesday morning, with the RFEF seeking a compromise with the players.
The players arrived on Tuesday evening for showdown talks with their country’s FA
Of the 22 players present at the meeting, 20 agreed to stay and end their boycott, but Leon and Gujiarro chose to leave.
CSD President Victor Francos announced the news early Wednesday morning.
He told reporters: “They have requested to leave the concentration due to lack of enthusiasm and personal discomfort. They will communicate this and I hope that the same respect will be given to those who stay as to those who do not stay.”
It emerged on Tuesday that under Spanish sporting law, players could be disqualified from playing for their country for up to five years if they refuse to represent the national team. However, the players told reporters that they are confident they will not face any sanctions.
Meanwhile, the RFEF spoke positively about the discussions, claiming that ‘deep conversations’ were taking place.
It is understood a number of issues have been discussed, including structural changes, making the women’s team more professional and ensuring the team are treated with the same respect as their male counterparts.
The FUTPRO Union provided legal advice and acted as a mediator during the talks. The union’s president, Amanda Gutierrez, suggested progress had been made but admitted there is still more work to be done.
‘It is seen as a convergence of points of view. It is the beginning of a long road ahead,” she said.
FUTPRO Union president Amanda Gutierrez (pictured) admitted there is still ‘a long road ahead of us’ despite 20 players agreeing to stay with the national team
“They have once again shown coherence and the vast majority have decided to make the decision to stay because of this agreement.”
The twenty players who have decided to be part of the Spanish training camp will now be available for the team’s Nations League matches in the coming days.
Cristina Martín-Prieto has also been called up to replace the injured Esther Gonzalez and will join the rest of the squad at their training base in Oliva on Thursday.
Spain travel to Sweden on Friday before hosting Switzerland next Tuesday.