Thursday, 25 Jul 2024

Spain’s Federation Fails Its World Cup Winning Players

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It is a sad truth that even after achieving greatness, women athletes have to face constant challenges and inequalities. The recent World Cup win by the Spanish women’s national team is a perfect example of this. While the players were still celebrating their historic victory, the Spanish federation managed to spoil their moment with thoughtless actions.

A Reminder of Inequality

Spain’s federation, rather than supporting and honoring their players, decided to remind them of the difficulties they had faced. Coach Jorge Vilda, who had created an intolerable training environment leading to 15 players boycotting the national team, was suddenly glorified on the federation’s social media account. The insensitive post, accompanied by an emoji of a raised index finger, only served to give the players a metaphorical middle finger.

A Disrespectful Act

As if this wasn’t enough, the federation president, Luis Rubiales, crossed the line of professionalism by kissing Jenni Hermoso, the team’s all-time leading scorer, without her permission or interest. Hermoso expressed her displeasure with the act, highlighting the lack of respect shown to the players.

Team Spain celebrates after beating England in the final and winning the 2023 World Cup in Sydney, Australia.

The Players Shine Despite the Coach

Contrary to many successful teams, Spain’s World Cup victory cannot solely be attributed to the coaching abilities of Jorge Vilda. The exceptional skills of the Spanish players, honed primarily at their clubs, particularly Barcelona, paved the way for their triumph. Vilda’s role was simply to organize the lineup and let the players showcase their talents.

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A Chance for Change

Winning the World Cup grants the players the leverage they need to push for the changes they desire within the federation. Similar to the successful campaigns of the U.S. women’s national team, who used their World Cup triumphs to fight for equal pay, the Spanish players must utilize this opportunity to demand better conditions, more funding, and resources.

Public Opinion Matters

Public opinion has played a crucial role in supporting the cause of women’s soccer. The incredible popularity of the sport in Spain, as evident from record-breaking attendances and enthusiastic supporters, can further contribute to pressuring the federation to act. The belief among Spain’s fans that the players are being treated unfairly will undoubtedly amplify the call for change.

The Battle Continues

While it’s disheartening that Spain’s players have to fight for equality instead of solely celebrating their achievement, it is crucial to remember that a win on the field is just the beginning. The fight for equal treatment and support will require continuous efforts and solidarity. However, with their World Cup victory behind them, the Spanish players are in a stronger position than ever to bring about lasting change within the federation.


Q: How can the Spanish women’s national team use their World Cup win to their advantage?

A: Winning the World Cup gives the players leverage to demand changes, including improved conditions, more funding, and resources from the federation.

Q: What can the Spanish federation do to address the players’ concerns?

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A: The federation needs to take the players’ demands seriously and make meaningful changes such as removing coaches with a history of creating toxic environments and providing equal support and opportunities.

Q: How can public opinion help to bring about change?

A: Public support and pressure can play a significant role in influencing the federation’s decisions. The more fans believe that the players are being treated unfairly, the more likely the federation will be compelled to take action.


The Spanish women’s national team deserves to celebrate their World Cup victory without the burden of inequality. It is essential for the players, with public support, to utilize this moment as a catalyst for change within the federation. The journey towards equality in women’s soccer is ongoing, but with each milestone achieved, progress becomes more attainable.

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on social media @nrarmour.