After achieving a significant milestone by winning the World Cup, one would anticipate the Spanish women’s football team would receive nothing but accolades and support. However, in an unexpected move, the Spanish Football Federation stirred controversy.
A moment of victory was seemingly overshadowed by a tweet from the federation’s official social media account. Shortly after the Spanish team’s win, an image of the head coach, Jorge Vilda, was posted with the caption “Vilda In”. For those unaware, this gesture might seem benign, but it carries a lot of weight.
Last year, Vilda faced heavy criticism when 15 of Spain’s elite players expressed their unwillingness to play under his leadership due to an alleged hostile training environment. In what many perceive as an act of vengeance, Vilda included merely three of those 15 players in the World Cup squad, even though several others had shown an interest in returning.
The gesture by the federation seemed to downplay the players’ contribution, especially when many believe that their success was more a result of their dedication and club training, predominantly with teams like Barcelona, rather than the national team’s coaching.
Some renowned coaches, such as Jill Ellis and Joachim Löw, have left a significant mark on their teams, transforming their style and leading them to numerous victories. Critics argue that Vilda doesn’t fit this mold. With a team overflowing with talent, many feel he merely needed to facilitate them, which he struggled to do effectively.
Captain Olga Carmona, after the match, acknowledged the challenges faced by the team in the past year. She emphasized that these hardships only forged them into a more resilient squad.
This victory now provides the Spanish players with an influential platform. They can potentially push for better conditions, more resources, or even managerial changes. The U.S. women’s team serves as a testament to this, as their World Cup wins have led to more equitable contracts, eventually matching their male counterparts’ pay.
It’s important to note that women’s football has gained tremendous popularity in Spain, with record-breaking attendances at various club matches. The exponential growth and the support of fans can serve as a catalyst for change within the federation.
The recent World Cup win for Spain’s women’s team should ideally be a time of celebration. Yet, it is marred by their continuous fight for respect and equality. The journey towards change may be long, but with persistence and public support, positive transformation seems inevitable.