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Preview, Squad List, Team News: Real Madrid vs. Villarreal; Liga F

Will the referee issue get resolved in time?

Manchester City v Real Madrid - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images


UPDATE: Matchday 1 has been suspended.

Real Madrid kick off their first league match of the season vs. Villarreal in the newly-minted Liga F (all matches can be watched on DAZN).

Villarreal finished 12th last season, avoiding relegation by just a couple of wins. Thus, this should be a straightforward start to the season for Madrid, but things often prove to be more complicated than they seem on paper.

Las Blancas come into this one having successfully made it through the first round of Champions League qualifying, crushing Sturm Graz before beating Manchester City. Madrid still need to defeat Rosenborg in a two-legged tie (1st leg: Sep 21; 2nd leg: Sep 28) in order to make the group stage, and will need to juggle that challenge alongside keeping pace in the league.

New signing Freja Olofsson has already joined training sessions and may be ready to get a cameo appearance vs. Villarreal.

You can see her interview with RMTV below:

There is currently uncertainty over whether the league will start on September 10th as planned. Yesterday, Primera División Femenina referees went on ‘strike’ (it technically cannot be called that, since they do not have an employment contract in the first place, which is part of the problem) over their employment and economic situation. You can read their full translated statement here, which was published on the official RFEF website.

The LPFF (the organization that runs Liga F) responded with a lengthy statement of their own.

The highlights:

  • The LPFF sent a proposal to the RFEF two days ago, in which the referees would quadruple their income. The RFEF did not respond.
  • The LPFF proposes to negotiate directly with the referees.
  • The clubs are currently continuing their planning as if matchday 1 will occur.
  • Explosive quote: “[an] embarrassing episode again led by the President of the RFEF who once again uses women as a battering ram to achieve his only objective, to destroy Spanish women’s football.”

I highly encourage checking out the thread below to get a full lowdown on the situation (if you need it, the google translate option on Twitter works fine).

In short, after ignoring the plight of referees for ages, the RFEF is using their legitimate concerns as a weapon to impede the new Liga F, which has finally wrested women’s league football out of Luis Rubiales’ control. One can only hope that, in all of this, a proper agreement is reached for the wellbeing of match officials and before competition starts tomorrow.

According to journalist Marc Andrés i Sanz, the CSD, a governmental body, cannot interfere here. The RFEF and LPFF must sort things out themselves.

Squad List

GK: Misa, Méline Gérard

DEF: Kenti Robles, Rocío Gálvez, Ivana Andrés, Olga Carmona, Kathellen Sousa, Claudia Florentino, Lucía Rodríguez, Sofie Svava

MID: Teresa Abelleira, Sandie Toletti, Maite Oroz, Caroline Weir, Claudia Zornoza, Freja Siri

FWD: Nahikari García, Esther González, Caroline Møller Hansen, Athenea del Castillo, Paula Partido, Carla Camacho

Absences: Naomie Feller, Lorena Navarro, Marta Corredera (maternity leave)

Naomie Feller and Lorena Navarro are the notable absences. Lorena has been left out for the last two games, perhaps indicating that she isn’t looked upon favorably by Toril. However, Feller not being on the team sheet is a bit of a surprise and likely hints at an injury problem. Møller will probably start in her place.

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