Soccer

3 players quit Argentina's national women's team after a dispute over pay and conditions

Argentina's soccer association did not comment the players' decision.

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Three players quit Argentina's national women's squad Monday after a dispute over a lack of pay and conditions at a camp ahead of two international friendlies, an unthinkable scenario for the country's World Cup winning men's squad.

Goalkeeper Laurina Oliveiros, defender Julieta Cruz and midfielder Lorena Benítez, all regular starters for the national team, announced their move as the squad started fine-tuning for friendlies against Costa Rica on Friday and on June 3.

“We reached a point in which we are tired of the injustices, of not being valued, not being heard and, even worse, being humiliated,” Cruz posted on Instagram. “We need improvements for Argentina’s women’s soccer national team, and I am not only talking about finances. I speak about training, having lunch, breakfast.”

Cruz and Benítez said during national squad training sessions they received a ham and cheese sandwich and a banana, which they believe is inadequate for high-performance athletes.

They said Argentina’s soccer association told them they wouldn't be paid for the two friendlies because the games will take place at home in Buenos Aires.

Benitez added that on top of players not being paid, their family members were being charged 5,000 pesos ($5) for tickets to enter the stadium.

“And there there are millions of things we have gone through," the midfielder added.

Goalkeeper Oliveros published on Instagram several pictures of her wearing Argentina’s shirt.

“With a broken heart and thousands of dreams disappearing little by little. May the next generations enjoy and be happy running after the football, as we were sometime ago,” she said.

Argentina's soccer association did not comment the players' decision.

Estefanía Banini, who is considered the country's best female player ever, lent support to her three former teammates. Last year, she also decided to stop playing for the national team.

“A matter of time. Thanks for being willing to speak about it,” the Atletico Madrid midfielder said on her social media channels.

Argentina’s professional women’s soccer championship started only five years ago, but players see the overall improvement as too little.

Argentina's women's teams usually struggle in South American competitions against rivals from Colombia and from Brazil, which will host the 2027 Women’s World Cup.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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