Spanish football, and especially the women’s game, has been in a dark moment for the last few weeks, following the actions of Luis Rubiales, who finally resigned as President of the Spanish Football Federation earlier this week.
Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso without consent after Spain’s World Cup, which has sparked fury across Europe. Many notable figures have spoken out against Rubiales, especially Hermoso’s La Roja teammates.
It has been a very difficult time for women’s football in Spain, with this incident and also the ongoing pay dispute in Liga F, which has seen the new league season delayed by at least two weeks. Alexia Putellas, who plays for Barcelona and Spain and is current Ballon d’Or holder, summed up her emotions in moving speech to the Parliament of Catalonia (via MD).
“Before those who listen to me here, I would like to demand more support for women’s football, more subsidies, more fields and more support. We hear many stories from girls who do not have the facilities to play – girls have to have the same tools as boys.
“We are taking steps forward. Barcelona invests and I encourage other clubs to do so too. It has already been seen that if they do it, they will win.”
Putellas also referenced the Rubiales, although she did refer to the matter by name.
“We ask for changes so that no woman, inside or outside of football, will ever have to experience any more situations of contempt, disrespect or abuse. Those who fought before us deserve it, we deserve it and so do the boys and girls who will come after. We will not fail you, and we will not stop fighting.”
Putellas speech came as Barcelona Femeni collected the Gold Medal of Honour from the Catalan Parliament for Sporting Merit, which comes after an incredible 2022-23 season. However, it is the actions of the players off the pitch that makes them even bigger heroes than they already are.