Spain coach Jorge Vilda is adamant he will not resign amid the ongoing dispute between RFEF and 15 players protesting against conditions affecting their mental state.
The group of players, including many from Barcelona’s all-star team and Manchester United’s Ona Batlle, asked not to be selected for international duty until the behaviour that has led many to dread national team camps is stamped out.
Injured superstar Alexia Putellas was not thought to be among the original group who contacted RFEF with concerns, but has since pledged her support.
“I don't wish on anyone what I'm going through. At no time have I ever considered resigning,” Vilda said at a press conference on Friday to announce his squad for October internationals against Sweden and the United States.
The squad for next month features only a handful of individuals with any sort of substantial international experience, with 13 players named having just five or fewer senior caps.
The 41-year-old, who has been La Roja head coach since 2015 and was previously in charge of running Spain youth teams since 2009, continues to be heavily criticised on social media and has been accused of playing the victim in the situation.
Vilda began his press conference by stating that he would answer all questions but then quickly refused to discuss the players who are conspicuously not involved.
“Wearing the shirt of Spain is the greatest pride there can be. It is a privilege and always will be," he said. "My solution to what happened is this squad and to look ahead.”
Vilda also claimed: "Due to the lack of clarity in the message of the players, certain doubts have been able to slip that there is something extra-sports in all this that is happening. I challenge any of the players I've ever coached to say if my treatment of them has not been exquisite."
The Spanish federation has controversially continued to put its support behind Vilda, despite the firestorm and backlash.
The players, whose desire not to be selected was made public by RFEF rather than themselves, later issued a statement that denied fully resigning from national team duty, as the federation had suggested, and clarifying that they have never asked for Vilda to be dismissed.
They have asked for a 'firm commitment to a professional project' and pointed out that by not playing, less than a year out from the 2023 World Cup, they are actually penalising themselves to fight for the necessary changes to conditions.