“Now we can focus on the football we wanted so much.”
‘Women’s World Cup Champion’ Spain’s leading midfielder and MVP of the tournament, Aitana Bonmatti, said this on the 24th (local time). It was a statement made with a sigh when the Spanish national team was able to play after weeks of various controversies after winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand last month.
The Spanish women’s national soccer team has had a difficult time since the World Cup last month. At the awards ceremony on the 20th of last month, controversy arose when Luis Rubiales, the head of the Spanish Football Association, forcibly kissed a female player during the victory ceremony. When a sexual crime occurred at an awards ceremony that attracted the attention of people all over the world, the issue of gender discrimination that not only female soccer players but also female sportspersons had to face began to receive great attention.
After the incident, President Rubiales resigned, the existing national team coach Jorge Bilda was dismissed, and Montserrat Tomé’s first female coach was appointed. The Spanish Football Association seemed to be making changes, but in the process, players held out, demanding fundamental changes in the association and declaring a boycott of international matches. Eventually, the players returned to the field after agreeing to form a joint committee to reform the association.
According to the BBC, Bonmatti, who played against Sweden on the 22nd, said, “We are setting an example at a sporting and social level that men and women should be treated equally.” He added, “The first few days were too complicated, stressful and anxious. However, as time passed, the situation changed.”
Forced kissing is ‘some’… The struggle continued for over a year
After the forced kissing incident, what the Spanish women’s national soccer team experienced over the past year has received global attention. It was assessed that Chairman Rubiales’ forced kiss was an opportunity for the issue of gender discrimination lurking within the association to surface. It was pointed out that the discrimination that female players have had to endure in Spanish soccer for decades has only now been revealed.
The New York Times (NYT) reported on the 6th, citing about 10 sources, that Spanish soccer officials, including players, had to experience various gender discrimination, from paternalism to verbal abuse. At the time, Coach Vilda reported to the players their bedtimes and instructed them to leave their hotel rooms open at night and sleep there. He also said that he was told to drink tea or eat meals under the supervision of the coaches. It is said that Director Bilda’s idea at the time was to control every move he made.
In addition, it was revealed that there were many cases of gender-discriminatory treatment in the association. Ana Muñoz, who joined the Spanish Football Association as vice-president for integrity, resigned in 2019 after just one year on the job, saying she had been hired without much authority and simply to publicize the fact that they had a female executive. said. She also described herself as an ‘ornament’ or a ‘flower pot’. He also revealed that after one game, the association gave tablet PCs to female players instead of prize money. He explained that he heard President Rubiales say at the time, “I have a daughter. I know what women want.”
There were also claims that sexual harassment and sexual harassment occurred regularly in Spanish soccer. Ignacio Quereda, who coached the women’s national team for over 20 years before being sacked this time, shared an experience where he used to tell female players, “What you really need is a good man and a big penis.” When Spain scored first in the final against England on the 20th of last month, coach Bilda was caught on camera hugging the female coach next to him and touching her breasts.
The NYT reported that players were reluctant to speak publicly about this series of incidents for fear of retaliation.
NYT described the Spanish players’ victory in the World Cup as an ‘honor stolen from them.’ The Spanish players had worked hard for years to win the World Cup and should have achieved the difficult goal and enjoyed the moment at the awards ceremony, but rather than being celebrated due to the sexual scandal, they were placed in a situation of stress due to controversy. Nevertheless, they engaged in a fierce battle with the association for nearly a month and are evaluated as having achieved great results by ultimately obtaining a promise to make important changes.
“I support” the Swedish A-match opponent also showing solidarity.
The common opinion is that this gender-discriminatory treatment experienced by female athletes is not only a Spanish problem. Until the 1970s, women’s soccer games were banned in major European countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany, which are now considered soccer powerhouses. In 2004, then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter caused controversy by saying, “Soccer’s popularity will increase if female players play in hot pants.”
As the value of gender equality receives attention, this situation is slowly improving. However, with the recent sexual harassment incident involving the Spanish women’s national soccer team, the world is once again paying attention to the issue of gender discrimination in the sports world.
Female athletes from other countries who sympathized with Spain’s situation expressed their support.
The Swedish women’s national soccer team, which played against Spain in an international match on the 22nd, stood in solidarity with the Spanish players. When the Spanish players took a commemorative photo before kick-off, they wore banners and bracelets with the phrases ‘Our fight is the global fight’ and ‘It is over (#SeAcabo)’. Sweden The players also participated and shared the same cause.
Philippa Ångeldahl, a midfielder for the Swedish women’s national soccer team, said at a press conference on the 19th before the game that she would support the Spanish players if they decided to boycott them. “You need to know that you are supported no matter what choice you make,” he said.
Leah Williamson, a leading star of women’s soccer who served as captain of the England women’s soccer team, also expressed her support in a recent interview with CNN.스포츠토토
He, who came to New York, USA to attend the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, said, “Considering the environment the soccer world has been in, it is an unavoidable moment,” and added, “As a fellow soccer player, I am grateful to them (Spanish female players) that such a situation has become known.” She added: “No athlete should have to go through what they are going through and that’s why I came to the United Nations to seize the opportunity to speak out to improve conditions for young women.”