"Decades of systematic discrimination" could not be explained in 20 minutes, but Alexia Putellas understood that there was much to clarify. Why the players of the Spanish team rebelled demanding changes has as a trigger, the straw that broke the camel's back, the non-consensual kiss of former president Luis Rubiales to Jenni Hermoso, the alleged pressures on the player and the speech in the assembly, but before they had already accumulated contempt that they had not yet related in the first person. 15 months of communiqués to those who have given voice in recent days and that the intention is that they end here, in Córdoba, after the duel against Switzerland. Because everything fought begins to bear fruit. "We are better," the captain did not hesitate to acknowledge.
Both Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes returned to give explanations during the fleeting passage of the selection by Seville before traveling to Córdoba to play against Switzerland. But they weren't the only ones. Athenea, Ona Batlle, Misa and Cata Coll were also explained. The most absolute clarity was put by the veterans: Everything has the same origin: in the RFEF they were not treated as professionals.
"Women's football has not been on the priority list. An example of that is that in the qualification of the European Championship, a day before a game we had to take a plane that made us get up at three in the morning. They were not schedules of elite athletes, who have as a priority training, meals, and rest. It was not coherent to compete like this to be in a European Championship, "denounced Alexia. It's not that there were more, it's that they were recurrent: "In a top-level tournament we never started from the same conditions. They moved by plane and we sucked six hours of bus. These are two examples of change that we were asking for." They transmitted it to the RFEF a year ago, 15 of them refused to go in those conditions, which only improved slightly for the World Cup. There were charter flights, family reconciliation and premiums agreed with the same percentage as men, although linked to the benefits of each selection.
None of that was enough to prevent what happened in the World Cup final, or in the week after. "The system failed Jenni, because in these situations she must make some protocols to prevent it from happening. If there was a professional structure, we would be just to play. We have had to have as captains meetings with trips, concentrations... We want to be in the selection, I want to make it clear. But with zero tolerance for these facts. The system failed and we explain what happened, what was seen or what was not. We denounce attitudes and behaviors that cannot be tolerated in any work environment. It is true that they listen to us that it is not something that has always happened, "said the double Ballon d'Or.
Irene Paredes wanted to summarize it: "We have been treated many times like girls and I think that here we are all professional women who play football," claimed Irene Paredes. They, as Barça players, know what it is to feel sheltered because two managers accompanied them to Oliva, "something to be grateful for in a moment of stress," said Alexia.
Still, and despite the controversy, the concentration for this Nations League was strange again. "In the meetings we conveyed that we did not understand why we were in Oliva. In the end the home of the RFEF and the selection is Las Rozas and we had not done anything wrong not to be there. They assured us that it was for security, but why?" asked Putellas.
The Barça player acknowledged that taking this situation to the limit has had a lot to do with "what happened in the following days and in the assembly". "Our partner's versions could not be allowed to be turned. We believe her in what she lived, what we saw and what we didn't see. We said it's over. We didn't want our partner to feel alone. Our intention was only to support Jenni and, if it has served to open an uncomfortable debate, that's fine. I don't think there is radicalism. My generation has grown up in a society that evolves, and this is a way of learning, of growing society, of doing our part individually and collectively to be a better country," he said.
Jorge Vilda and Montse Tomé
All these situations that they denounced to the RFEF and to Jorge Vilda, a year ago and a month ago, did not entail the request for their dismissal. "I don't know why they kick him out. In the end it has been decided by the RFEF. In the technical section, whether it was valid or not, we did not decide. Yes, we transmit the feeling of the team to improve things. That is the role of captains. Then we tell what happened in the days after the final and in the assembly. We moved him, they listened to us and there is an open trial, so there are things they cannot explain, "he limited himself to remembering the double Ballon d'Or.
In fact, she was surprised by the possibility that Montse Tomé will also leave behind this window. "I don't know. I have no idea. They are saying, but we are professionals, we always have been. In training and in matches we give our best. It was seen in Sweden. There is no doubt that we respect everyone's work.", he clarified before Paredes added: "Has anyone asked for changes on the bench? We are going to listen to what the players say. We neither put nor remove coaches, "said the central.
Meanwhile, they are all with Jenni. "We have known her for many years, we know what she has given us and what she is. We had to draw strength from wherever so as not to leave her alone. The judicial process also carries stress. We had to empathize with our partner and fight so that this would not happen anymore. It was Jenni's turn, but it didn't matter who it was. The image was what it was and what happened next was seen," he reiterated. In that they are united, not as Rafael Del Amo insinuated in Oliva. "There were people who thought that the road could be different, but we were all at the meeting, everyone spoke and the comments and concerns were the same," said the captain, who was the one who coined the now famous 'It's over'. "It was after talking to Jenni and seeing the assembly. It has been one of the few times that I have not thought about what I published, "he acknowledged.
Putellas assumes the leadership of this selection on the field and off. And her teammates appreciate it. "If I've had anxiety, I can't imagine how they've experienced it. For me they are exemplary. I'm young and I look at them. They always want our good, they think more about the group and we thank them, "said goalkeeper Cata Coll.
Meetings, advances in respect and professionalization and the accolade of the victory against Sweden calm the commotion that accompanies the selection while advancing the judicial route where the players still have much to say.
- Women's Football
- Spain national football team
- Articles Inma Lidón