Spain’s female footballers accuse ex-coach Ignacio Quereda of abuse and homophobia

Spain’s female football players have accused former national team coach Ignacio Quereda of abuse and homophobia in a new documentary, 'Breaking the Silence'

Spain’s female football players have accused former national team coach Ignacio Quereda of abuse and homophobia in a new documentary, 'Breaking the Silence'.

The documentary, named 'Romper el Silencio' in Spanish, was shown on the country’s subscription platform Movistar +.

It details the 27-year reign of national team coach Quereda, which ran from 1988 to 2015.

Twitter account @OmVAsports has translated some of the key quotes from the documentary, which features allegations of bullying, abusive language, excessive control and homophobia.

Manchester City midfielder Vicky Losada, who has made more than 60 appearances for Spain, was one of the players who featured in the documentary.

She described how there was a culture of fear under Quereda, with people frightened to speak to the coach.

"People were scared in chats with him," she said. "They didn’t speak. People didn’t want to run into him – in the hall or in the cafeteria."

Former player Mar Prieto added: "In the beginning he was a very friendly person. In truth, it began very well. But it eventually became sour. He was tyrannical with people."

Quereda was also accused of excessively controlling behaviour.

"It was absolute control," Prieto said. "And when we went to buy something, if he could see what we had in the bags, he would.

"I remember that we had to leave our rooms open. He went room by room, asked how everything was, looked in, and then shut the door."

Losada, an openly LGBT+ player, claimed Quereda would often spout homophobic views.

"Homosexuality was something Quereda wanted to eradicate… I had fear. But I gained confidence over time and today I am public about it."

Former player Vero Boquete backed up Losada’s claim, alleging that Quereda viewed homophobia as a "sickness".

The Spanish players tried to get rid of Quereda, but ex-Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Ángel María Villar reportedly dismissed their concerns and often enabled the coach’s abuse.

Quereda was finally dismissed in 2015 after the players went to the press with their concerns. Boquete claimed the RFEF "had to sack him due to public pressure."

This came just weeks after Spain finished bottom of their group at the 2015 Women's World Cup, losing to Brazil and South Korea, and drawing with Costa Rica. The players claimed they had inadequate preparation for the tournament. 

Spain have been on the rise since Quereda's sacking, only narrowly losing to the United States in the round of 16 at the 2019 Women's World Cup. They are now a serious contender to lift the trophy at Euro 2022. 

The allegations of abuse from Spain are just the latest to emerge from the world of women’s football.

Allegations of sexual misconduct have rocked the NWSL in recent weeks, while Jamaica’s women’s football team coach Hubert Busby Jr was accused of sexual coercion when he was in charge of the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team a decade ago.

GiveMeSport Women columnist Lucy Bronze gave her thoughts on the abuse scandal here

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