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Spanish Women's Soccer Players Fight Discrimination

 Spanish Women's Soccer Players Fight Discrimination

Spanish Women's Soccer Players Fight Discrimination
Spanish Women's Soccer Players Fight Discrimination(Image-Getty) 

Spain's women's soccer players have opened up about their long-standing battle against what they describe as "systematic discrimination" within the country's football federation (RFEF). They hope that their fight will inspire others to stand up for their rights.

The catalyst for their protest was an incident during the World Cup when then RFEF President Luis Rubiales kissed team mate Jenni Hermoso on the mouth. Rubiales refused to resign, and this, as two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas explained, was the final straw that led the players to boycott the team until leadership changes were made at the federation.

After negotiations that extended into the early hours, the majority of players agreed to end their boycott.

At a press conference ahead of a Nation's League match against Sweden, Alexia Putellas stated, "We had been demanding that they listen to us for quite some time because we already knew that there had been systematic discrimination with the women's team for many decades. We had to fight a lot to be heard."

Reports suggest that between six and nine senior officials of the football federation will either be invited to leave their positions or will be dismissed. This came shortly before the federation announced the dismissal of its Secretary General, Andreu Camps.

Luis Rubiales, who was suspended by FIFA and faces investigation for assault and coercion over the kiss incident, eventually resigned. He claimed that Hermoso had consented to the kiss, but she denied this.

The coach who led Spain to Women's World Cup victory, Jorge Vilda, was dismissed earlier in the month.

Spain defender Irene Paredes acknowledged that there were signs of improvement but emphasized that they "still can't see the light at the end of the tunnel." She expressed the hope that their stand would serve as a beacon for other women experiencing discrimination, both in sports and other aspects of life.

Paredes also mentioned that during the standoff, the players felt somewhat isolated, and while they appreciated the intervention of the Spanish government, they criticized it for its slow response.

New coach Montse Tome's call-up for the match against Sweden and Switzerland caught many players by surprise, as they had previously indicated that they would not be available. Tome defended her actions, explaining that her statement about speaking to all the players had been misinterpreted; she had only spoken to some of them.

Amid reports that the RFEF is considering whether to remove Tome, she stated that she had not heard the players express a desire for her dismissal. Putellas confirmed that the players had not requested Tome's removal.

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