The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has dismissed its general secretary Andreu Camp after reaching a deal with players of the women’s national team to accelerate “profound changes” at the governing body and end a boycott of international games.
Spanish players had threatened to boycott the women’s national side ahead of the team’s debut in the Women’s National League against Sweden tomorrow (September 22) and Switzerland on Tuesday (September 26) amid calls for fundamental changes in governance at the RFEF following the resignation of disgraced former president Luis Rubiales.
However, a deal was reached yesterday (September 20) to end the walkout, with the RFEF promising to make immediate changes, including changing its top management. As part of the deal, between six and nine senior federation officials will be invited to leave their jobs or will be dismissed, starting with Camp.
The list of officials set to leave the federation was compiled after a meeting between the players, federation officials, the National Sports Council (CSD), and the women’s players’ union FUTPRO.
CSD president Victor Francos told reporters: “A joint commission will be created between RFEF, CSD, and players to follow up on the agreements, which will be signed tomorrow.
“The players have expressed their concern about the need for profound changes in the RFEF, which has committed to making these changes immediately.”
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The federation said it will not hire a new general secretary straight away to replace Camp and Elvira Andres and Alfredo Olivares will assume general secretary duties until an election can take place.
Along with senior management changes, RFEF announced it would remove the adjective ‘female’ from the national team’s official brand to match the men’s squad.
Both will be known as the Spanish national football team from now on.
RFEF president Pedro Rocha said: “Beyond it being a symbolic step, we want it to be a change of concept and recognition that football is football, no matter who plays it.”
The federation added a pledge to give the players a “safe environment” to work in and said other changes agreed upon will be announced soon.
20 players had said they would boycott the national team after they were selected to play in the upcoming games but faced sanctions of around €30,000 and suspension of their federation license for between two and 15 years if they had not turned up for training.
Barcelona teammates Patri Fuijarro and Mapi Leon left the national team’s training camp in Valencia after receiving guarantees from the Spanish government that they would not be sanctioned. Others said they will stay after being told their demands for reform will be met.
The call for governance changes came amid the ongoing backlash over Rubiales’ controversial behavior at the Women’s World Cup (WWC) final last month and combative response after being called out.
Rubiales kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent following the team’s victory in the final against England and grabbed his crotch while celebrating in the VIP area of Stadium Australia, while Queen Letizia of Spain and her 16-year-old daughter stood nearby.
Despite the public fallout and suspension by world governing body FIFA, Rubiales defiantly refused to step down from his position claiming the kiss was “mutual and consensual” and that he was being vilified.
Many of the top male brass at the RFEF enthusiastically applauded Rubiales when he held an extraordinary press conference a few days after the final in which he repeatedly stated that he would not resign and that he was a victim of “a social assassination” and “manhunt.”
The players and critics said the gestures of support exposed misogyny within the federation, leading to calls for reform.
Rubiales eventually stepped aside following weeks of pressure, including from the RFEF’s various regional presidents, and after Hermoso and a Spanish prosecutor filed an official legal complaint against him.
Read more: Successful 2023 Women's World Cup will be remembered for issues still endured by women in sport.