Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes of the women's national football team at a press conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, on September 21, 2023 (Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
(CNN) -- Ahead of the Spanish national team's first match since winning the women's World Cup last month, Spanish stars Alexia Putellas and Irene Paredes denounced "systemic discrimination" during a news conference to reporters on Thursday.
"We have been demanding to be heard for a long time because we detected, or already knew, that for many decades, too many, there was systemic discrimination against the women's team," said Putellas, a two-time winner of the Women's Ballon d'Or, according to Reuters.
Earlier this week, a dispute between the Spanish women's national football team and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) appeared to have been resolved after the two sides, along with the governing Higher Sports Council (CSD), reached a series of agreements.
- Jennifer Hermoso is left out of the call of Spain, although 20 players who signed a letter refusing to play matches entered the selection
Twenty-one of the 23 players called up for the upcoming matches agreed to play and traveled to Sweden.
"We have stayed because we think it is what we have to do for the agreements to prosper and this to go ahead," Paredes said.
Earlier this month, Jorge Vilda was fired from his position as the team's coach; the country's football federation (RFEF) announced that he would be replaced by his substitute, Montse Tomé.
Putellas said the players never asked for any coach to be fired.
"Never. Everything we have done when we have been captains is to convey concerns or concepts with which the team did not feel entirely comfortable, "added Putellas.
Tome said Thursday she doesn't feel the players don't support her.
"As you know, I've only been in this position for a short time," Tomé said. "I'm confident... I have confidence in the work, I want this to be resolved, that's right, and we really want to work. That's who we are."
Spain will face Sweden in the UEFA Women's Nations League in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Friday.
"The only thing we want is to play football in decent conditions, where we are respected and so far, that has not been totally possible and after what happened in the final, that has been totally impossible," Paredes added. "That's why we try and demand that things change."