HomeFootballBonmati admits Spanish women face 'same problems' in post-Rubiales era

Bonmati admits Spanish women face ‘same problems’ in post-Rubiales era


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Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati believes female football players in Spain are still facing the ‘same problems as always’.

The Barcelona midfielder was part of the side that stormed to a historic 2023 Women’s World Cup victory.


Bonmati won every trophy available to her in 2022/23 – but regrets the lack of change in SpainCredit: Getty

But she has told BBC Sport that despite their outstanding achievement, both the national team and the domestic league in Spain – Liga F – continue to face difficulties.

She said: “There is not anything that has changed.”

She added: “I would like to say that everything has changed and the World Cup gave us more things – but I cannot say that. I compare [it to] when England won the Euros – everything changed.

“But we won the World Cup which I think is bigger than winning the Euros and no, it never changed, especially in the league. We are having the same problems as always. We have a lot of problems.”

The discontent within the Spanish national team long preceded the Women’s World Cup final, when many of the issues came to the forefront following their win.

After kissing striker Jenni Hermoso on the lips after the final, it took almost three weeks for the ex-president of the Spanish football federation, Luis Rubiales, to resign.

Rubiales is currently facing charges of sexual assault for the kiss as well as coercion charges related to his alleged attempts to get Hermoso to defend him in the aftermath.

The 46-year-old is also now facing unrelated charges as part of a corruption investigation.

Rubiales insists the kiss with Hermoso was consensual


Rubiales insists the kiss with Hermoso was consensualCredit: Getty
Vilda (R) has since become the head of the Moroccan women's national team


Vilda (R) has since become the head of the Moroccan women’s national teamCredit: Getty
Bonmati believes the WSL is doing far better than Liga F in treating players well


Bonmati believes the WSL is doing far better than Liga F in treating players wellCredit: Getty

Rubiales’ departure also followed the sacking of former head coach Jorge Vilda in September 2023.

Vilda had been at the centre of a storm since September 2022 when 15 players had sent identical emails to the federation declaring their refusal to play for the national team until concerns over their ’emotional state’ were addressed.

Luis Rubiales resigns as president of Spanish Football Federation in exclusive interview with Piers Morgan

When he was sacked, the federation published a statement signed by the interim president Pedro Rocha in which they apologised for Rubiales’ behaviour, which they called ‘totally unacceptable’.

The Spanish federation are still without an official president following Rubiales’ departure, but Vilda has since been replaced by former Barcelona player Montse Tome – who also became the first female manager of Spain Women.

But the conflict did not end there.

A total of 81 players declared they were boycotting the national team following Rubiales’ kiss.

But many of the striking players then reported for a Nations League camp in late September after suggestions of legal repercussions if they did not respond to their call-ups.

At the time, Hermoso released statement saying that the decision to call up players who had declared their intention to strike showed that ‘nothing has changed’.

Eventually, most of the players agreed to end their boycott as the federation released a statement saying they were dedicated to ‘immediate and profound changes’ in the aftermath of all that had happened.

But now, seven months on, Bonmati has echoed Hermoso’s words yet again.

Bonmati wished that Spain's 2023 victory could have been watershed moment for women's football...


Bonmati wished that Spain’s 2023 victory could have been watershed moment for women’s football…Credit: Getty
...as it was in England in 2022


…as it was in England in 2022Credit: Getty

She told BBC Sport: “I would love to say everything has changed but no, it’s not.

“The worst thing is that you don’t see any clear changes in the close future. This is sad.”

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