Why Jenni Hermoso, Spain's Bravery Could Forever Change Football
Know why Jenni Hermoso, Spain's bravery could forever change football. The impact of Luis Rubiales' terrible acts between Spain's Women's World Cup victory on August 20 and today will last a long time. The allegations and counter-accusations will follow suit.
However, the manner Spain's World Cup-winning women, their colleagues, and union representatives have behaved, and what they have already achieved, may easily be the single most significant, remarkable, and influential group action by players in the contemporary history of their sport.
Jenni Hermoso, Aitana Bonmati, Alexia Putellas, Olga Carmona, and Cata Coll, along with their Futpro Union, have the potential to have a seismic impact, one that should make every single professional footballer, male or female, think twice about how they approach such conflict in their careers from now on.
Despite the fact that many of the objectives set by Spain's leading female footballers have yet to be met – including the removal of coach Jorge Vilda as part of a deep-rooted organizational change – we have already witnessed the most significant action taken by workers against authorities since Jean-Marc Bosman's legal case nearly 30 years ago.
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Bosman's struggle was that of a victim who used the law to achieve a horrifyingly painful and costly victory. Unlike in the Hermoso instance, however, neither individual players nor football unions supported him for the majority of his revolt.
An ESPN writer from Spain knows Bosman's struggle very well as he stated:
I know, because Bosman told me so when I was sat opposite him, in his parents' flat in Liege, Belgium, at lunchtime that day in 1995 when the European Court Of Justice provisionally ruled in his favor.- Graham Hunter
This case involving the Spanish national team, in which the law has yet to be invoked, the odds were stacked against the underdogs, and the issue has become a galvanizing one around the world in such a short period of time, may be recognized as the most significant ever action by a group of players and their entourage.
Spain's World Cup-winning footballers, along with their teammates and representatives, have conveyed a series of obvious, straightforward, and powerful signals.
First, rather than saving that sort of togetherness for the field and then having to stand alone on the problems, which was once typical practice, footballers can unify, work together, and do incredible things off the field.
Second, this should serve as a wake-up call to any malignant football authority, individual, club, or federation that believes it can behave autocratically, fraudulently, or indecently. It is now obvious that the powers that be may be held accountable even when the odds appear to be stacked against them.
Third, in an age when many people may feel disenfranchised, the Spain team has taught players all across the globe an indelible lesson about how clarity, unity, resolve, and intellect can expose and eliminate such abhorrent abuses of power.
Last Friday, when Rubiales delivered his repulsive "she started it" speech about Jenni Hermoso; unilaterally declared that Vilda would be given a renewed, lengthier, €500k per annum contract; and again yelled that he would not resign, the odds appeared to be stacked against La Roja's players.
Just a year before, they'd began talks with the Spanish FA (headed by Rubiales) about working circumstances that the players' union said were detrimental to the squad's mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Fifteen players ultimately felt strongly enough to revolt and declare that they would leave from the national squad until their issues were addressed and working circumstances changed.
They refused to be chosen, which is a different strategy than quitting or resigning in perpetuity. However, rather than address their concerns or continue in negotiation, Rubiales' FA publicly said that the 15 would only be permitted to return to national team duty if they "recognized the error of their ways and apologized."
Globally, the situation did not appear to be favorable. Megan Rapinoe was criticized by politicians after missing a penalty for the United States in a stunning loss to Sweden in the Women's World Cup, with the notion that her activism distracted her.
In December, the German men's national team opened the Qatar World Cup with photos of their hands over their lips in protest at not being permitted to wear rainbow emblems or armbands in support of LGBTQIA+ rights. When Germany was eliminated during the group stage, many critics rushed to link their poor on-field performance to their social demonstrations.
Last Friday, in light of Rubiales' extraordinary behavior at the Emergency General Meeting, history was firmly telling Spain's players, club mates, families, friends, and supporters that the fight to be heard and treated fairly would be slow, painful, and potentially humiliating at best; at worst, it would be a pyrrhic victory, with any gains overshadowed by what they'd lose in the process.