Four Argentina women’s national team players step down in protest

Lorena Benítez, Julieta Cruz, Laurina Oliveros, and Eliana Stabile cited low investment and lack of answers from the Argentine Football Federation

Argentina is out of the FIFA Women's World Cup. Credit: Télam

Four Argentina women’s national football team players announced their decision to step down from the Albiceleste days ahead of the team’s back-to-back friendly against Costa Rica. Lorena Benítez, Julieta Cruz, Laurina Oliveros, and Eliana Stabile announced their decision through their Instagram accounts, citing low investment and lack of answers from authorities.

“It’s sad and hard to make this decision,” Stabile wrote on Tuesday afternoon. Benítez, Cruz, and Oliveros resigned on Monday. All four are part of Boca Juniors’ women’s team, which at the time of writing leads the Argentine Primera Division. 

“I’m tired of the lack of interest towards women’s football,” added Stabile. “We just want to be considered and hope the next generation of players don’t have to go through the same.”

Of the four players, Benítez went into the most detail about their reasoning, claiming that poor treatment goes back to when she represented Argentina in the U-17 teams. In the run-up to the Costa Rica friendlies, Benítez revealed that they were only provided one ham and cheese sandwich and a banana after training. The Argentina Football Federation (AFA) also does not give national players personal transport, meaning many rely on public transport to return from the training complex in Ezeiza.

She also revealed that AFA told players they won’t be paid the per diem, as is normally granted during international match days, since both are held in Buenos Aires so they don’t “add expenses.”

“Representing Argentina and wearing the national team jersey is the greatest feeling there is. But it’d also be good if they’d value our work, dedication and sacrifice to give our best,” she wrote, a sentiment that was echoed by Cruz and Oliveros.

Calls for dialogue

Head coach Germán Portanova spoke with the AFA’s official streaming channel AFA Estudio to give his take on the events. 

“It’s a sad situation,” he said. “I respect the players’ decision and understand it, but we believe in another path, we believe we can develop women’s football with dialogue and working from the inside.”

Defender Aldana Cometti, who represented Argentina in the 2019 and 2023 World Cups, also told AFA Estudio she was saddened by the situation but also pointed towards dialogue. 

“You have to talk to the board members. We had a meeting [on Monday] and they explained the situation. Things won’t be fixed with a per diem or a game in Argentina. We can’t expect all our wishes to be granted in a single day, but we’ll improve things,” she said.


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