West News Wire: Ten days after FIFA suspended the federation’s president for kissing national team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced that Jorge Vilda, the coach of the Women’s World Cup-winning women’s team, had been fired.
Vilda’s employment has been terminated, the federation announced on Tuesday. A new board was established after RFEF President Luis Rubiales was suspended by FIFA due to the alleged nonconsensual kiss during World Cup winning celebrations two weeks ago.
The RFEF praised 42-year-old Vilda for his “extraordinary sporting legacy” in a statement that left out references to Hermoso, Rubiales, or the scandal.
“The coach has been key to the remarkable growth of women’s football and leaves Spain as world champions and second in the FIFA rankings,” the RFEF statement said.
The incident involving Rubiales has spiralled into a national debate over women’s rights and sexist behaviour.
Considered a close ally of Rubiales, Vilda had been under fire since last year after 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation because of what they said were inadequate coaching methods and conditions.
Even though certain demands were met, the majority of the involved players were dropped from the team.
When contacted by sports journalist Danae Boronat for her book Don’t Call Them Girls, Call Them Footballers, Spain’s top female players said Vilda micromanaged them by telling more experienced players what to say in interviews, among other things.
When Rubiales refused to retire on August 25, Vilda and Luis de la Fuente, the manager of the men’s national team, cheered him on. However, they eventually released comments denouncing his conduct.
The Spanish men’s national team captains expressed their support for the Women’s World Cup-winning squad by denouncing Rubiales’ “unacceptable behaviour” on Monday.
The 46-year-old has been provisionally barred from all football activity for an initial 90 days by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) while it investigates his conduct.
Pedro Rocha, the president of the Spanish Football Federation now in control while Rubiales’ suspension, apologised for Rubiales’ actions in a letter that was published on Tuesday.
The federation must request “the most sincere apologies to the football world as a whole,” as well as from football organisations, supporters, and players, particularly those on the women’s national team, “for the totally unacceptable behaviour of its highest representative,” according to Rocha.
His actions “in no way” reflect the ideals of the Spanish people as a whole, of its institutions, of its representatives, of its athletes, and of the country’s sports authorities.