Spanish Football Leads with Gender Inclusivity – New Women’s Team Initiative Fuels Debate

In a significant move in women’s football in Spain, the Spanish Football Federation recently announced a series of transformative changes following extensive discussions with the national women’s team. Here’s the whole story.

The Background

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Amidst a backdrop of tension and discontent, the national women’s team reluctantly reported to camp in September, driven by worry about potential consequences for refusing the call-up. 

Their Message

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These players made it abundantly clear that they were dissatisfied with representing their country until major changes were implemented.

The Discussions 

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The following crisis talks saw RFEF and National Sports Council representatives engage in discussions with the players.

The objective was to bridge the divide and seek common ground between the two parties.

Fortunately, a compromise was reached during these meetings.

The Team Was Renamed

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The RFEF announced its first step towards change by renaming the Spanish women’s team to “Seleccion Espanola de Futbol,” aligning it with the name used for the men’s national team.

RFEF President Shared His Thoughts

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Pedro Rocha, interim RFEF president, highlighted that this unification goes beyond symbolism, aiming to bring about a shift in the perception and treatment of women’s football.

Football Is Football

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Rocha said, “Beyond a symbolic step, we want it to imply a change in concept and the recognition that football is football, practiced by whoever practices it.”

Committed to Equality

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The decision includes using identical branding and logos for both teams, with the women’s team bearing a star above the badge in recognition of their World Cup victory.

These changes will also extend to futsal and beach soccer teams.

The Structure Was Changed

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Structural changes within the women’s team to make it more professional were also on the table.

The Aim

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The aim is to ensure female players receive the same support and resources as their male counterparts.

The FUTPRO Union played a crucial role during the discussions, offering legal advice and mediating between the RFEF and the players.

The Acknowledgment

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Amanda Gutierrez, the union’s president, acknowledged the progress made but emphasized that much work still needs to be done.

Beginning of a Long Road

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She stated, “It is considered a rapprochement of positions. It is the beginning of a long road that lies ahead of us.”

The Controversy

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This transformation within the Spanish women’s team comes when the RFEF is grappling with the repercussions of the ‘kiss-gate scandal’ that marred the World Cup final.

It was revealed that former president Luis Rubiales pressured a Spanish FA employee to falsely claim that Jenni Hermoso had consented to a kiss during the trophy presentation.

The Result

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Despite the tumultuous circumstances surrounding their national team, almost all the players initially called up by incoming manager Monste Tome have remained committed to the cause.

Only two players, Mapi Leon and Patri Guijarro, chose to walk away from the setup.

Changes Are Occurring

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Speaking about their decision, Mapi Leon said, “It is a reality that our situation is different from that of the rest of our colleagues. We know that there have been no ways or means of returning. All of this is a process. We are happy because it is true that the changes are occurring.”

Online Users Shared Their Views

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Several users expressed their thoughts on the incident.

One user wrote, “There can only be one “gender neutral” national team. Spain is nuts. The rest of the world will continue to have gendered sports. Obviously, just rhetoric.”

Black and White

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Another user added, “Pretty sure this isn’t the only change they are still fighting for. They are negotiating whilst also being forced to play. It’s not so black and white, it’s not all forgotten.”

The post Spanish Football Leads with Gender Inclusivity – New Women’s Team Initiative Fuels Debate first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Christian Bertrand. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

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