OAN’s Abril Elfi
3:55 PM – Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Spain’s women’s soccer team coach, Jorge Vilda, has been fired by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) following the controversy of Luis’ Rubiales’ controversial kiss with a player on the team.
The news comes as Rubiales was suspended as Spanish FA president for 90 days by FIFA after publicly kissing one of his players, Jenni Hermoso.
The RFEF issued a statement on Tuesday, apologizing for the “totally unacceptable behavior” by Rubiales, saying that the organization is cooperating with angry sports fans by implementing the disciplinary action against him.
After the statement was released, Vilda was informed that he was fired and that Montse Tomé would be his replacement.
Tomé will be the first woman in history to coach the Spanish women’s soccer team. She has been the team’s assistant coach alongside Vilda since 2018.
The statement made no mention of the specific reason for Vilda’s dismissal, since he was not the one who kissed the player, but the organization cited “structural changes” within the team.
“The RFEF wants to convey to the whole of society and to the whole of world football its deepest regret for what has happened, which has tarnished our national team, our football and our society,” the statement read. “The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.”
However, the RFEF still thanked the former coach in a statement, saying that he: “has been key to the notable growth in women’s football and left Spain as World Champion and second in FIFA ranking.”
Vilda, 42, had just recently led the women’s team to the World Cup after beating England in the finals. Yet, the victory had been largely overshadowed by president Rubiales’ actions.
Along with the FIFA suspension, the Spanish FA called for Rubiales’ official resignation and prosecutors have opened a preliminary sexual assault probe into the incident.
The Spanish FA president claimed that the kiss was consensual, however, Hermoso argued in a statement last month that she felt like “the victim of aggression.”
Vilda had reportedly remained silent initially regarding Rubiales’ behavior, even when 15 players complained about the management system back in September of last year.
When Rubiales declined to retire before the federation’s Extraordinary General Assembly last month, he also gave his support to Vilda and claimed he was beginning the process of offering the coach a new four-year contract worth $542,000 per year.
“On another level, a lot smaller (than my situation), but they wanted to do to you what they’re doing to me now,” Rubiales said at the time. “A false narrative to try to transform it into the truth. We’ve suffered a lot, we’ve gone through a lot, we’ve swallowed a lot, but we’ve been together: you and me and your team.”
Throughout the speech, Vilda was seen cheering for Rubiales.
However, Vilda later issued a statement criticizing Rubiales’ “improper behavior” after four assistant coaches for Spain’s senior squad, two coaches for the women’s youth teams, and five additional staff members for both the senior and youth women’s teams departed last month.
Vilda’s controversy has only grown since the World Cup final, when footage from the game appeared to show him “improperly” hugging a female staff member while celebrating Spain’s goal over England.
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