Newly crowned Women’s World Cup winner Alexia Putellas spoke passionately after Sunday’s final victory over England about the need for FIFA to “take note” of the issues facing women in the sport.
Asked by a reporter about the issues facing Colombian players in particular – the women’s team has battled with its federation for better conditions – Putellas said, “It annoys me because it’s not something in just one country, it keeps repeating itself. And that’s where FIFA should take note.”
The two-time reigning Ballon d’Or winner added she is worried about the effect that off-field conflicts have on the players.
“This is an overexertion when the player has to simply focus on training, taking care of herself, doing good nutrition and leaving everything on the pitch,” Putellas said.
“All of the energy that you channel in fighting, in saying, are strategic plans… We are players!”
In spite of those fears, the 29-year-old called on players to continue battling injustice.
“To the players, I’d say that they keep on fighting, that they make themselves heard, that they explain everything well and everything has to change,” Putellas said.
“We’ve seen that at a minimum, if you believe a bit and you provide some basic facilities, everything comes out better.”
Spain was one of a number of teams which went into the 2023 Women’s World Cup amidst some kind of dispute between the players and the federation.
For months, a large number of the squad’s leading players have been at loggerheads with head coach Jorge Vilda and Spain’s soccer federation (RFEF), a dispute that led to some of La Roja’s star names missing the successful World Cup campaign.
Canada, Jamaica and beaten finalist England are amongst the teams facing conflict between the players and the federations.
Meanwhile, the US women’s players reached an equal pay deal with US Soccer in May 2022, after six years of legal wrangling.
Putellas overcame a serious knee injury to be fit in time for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand, and said the lengthy period of time spent recovering was like doing “a Master’s degree” as she saw football in a different light.
“I learned how this industry goes – and you [all the media] also know how it goes,” said the Barcelona midfielder.
“To get to know the other face, which isn’t the football but rather the industry, because before you played every three days, you go along focused and you think only about winning and I had to stop for a year and I saw everything in a different light.
“I lost the romanticism, but not on the pitch. In fact, I went a year without training and when I started to train, for me, that was life. And the minutes you have, the dressing room… for me that’s football and the rest is industry.”
The best photos of the 2023 Women’s World Cup
Record breaking World Cup
Spain’s Women’s World Cup final victory against England was the most watched women’s football match in the history of the Iberian nation, according to RFEF.
Over 8.85 million unique viewers watched La Roja’s 1-0 victory, with an average viewership of 5.59 million – a 65.7% share of the audience.
The highest audience moment came in the closing moments of the match at 8:02 a.m. ET (2:02 p.m. local time), with 7.4 million viewers and a 71.1% share.
The 2023 Women’s World Cup broke several viewing records throughout the competition and in a number of different countries.
In his speech at the FIFA Women’s Football Convention in Sydney on Friday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed over 2 billion people had tuned in to the competition, hailing it as a “truly transformational” event.
Spain’s victory earned the country’s maiden Women’s World Cup title, having only qualified for the flagship event three times, and it now joins Germany as the only nations to win both a men’s and women’s World Cup.