Fifteen Spanish women’s soccer stars — reportedly including team third captain, Patri Guijarro, midfielder Aitana Bonmati, and goalkeeper Sandra Panos — are taking on the national team’s governance.
The Royal Spanish Football Federation said in a statement that it received emails from players saying the players would not participate in national team activities because “the current situation … affects ‘significantly’ their ‘emotional state’ and their ‘health.’” The federation noted that all emails contained identical wording.
Allegations are referring to current head coach Jorge Vilda, along with the rest of the coaching staff, and how they run the team, according to CNN.
The players will refuse to play until the situation is resolved.
In the soccer world, these concerns are apparently no secret. U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe took to Instagram to say she should count as a “16th” player, and supported the Spanish players’ decision.
The federation is taking a strong stance against the players. “The RFEF is not going to allow the players to question the continuity of the national coach and his coaching staff, since making those decisions does not fall within their powers,” it said in its statement.
“Not attending a national team call is classified as a very serious infraction and can carry sanctions of between two and five years of disqualification.”
In the meantime, the federation is replacing the stars.