Jorge Vilda sacked as Spanish women's football coach in aftermath of kiss scandal

Spain's football federation apologizes for suspended president's "inappropriate" behavior

Spain's World Cup-winning team lift the trophy
Spain's World Cup-winning team lift the trophy / Casa Reial
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

September 5, 2023 04:31 PM

September 5, 2023 09:20 PM

Jorge Vilda, the unpopular coach at the head of the Spanish women's football team, was fired Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the non-consensual kiss scandal.

This comes just over a week after the since-suspended Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales made the not-legally binding surprise announcement that Vilda would be given a new four-year contract, earning €500,000 per year.

While Rubiales has been in the eye of the storm in recent weeks for forcibly kissing Spain forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony after Spain won the Women's World Cup, accusations of sexism and discrimination at the RFEF run deep.

Players had long been discontent with Vilda too, with 15 walking out last year and very few returning to play the tournament. 

Vilda, who clapped for Rubiales at the press conference in which he refused to resign and declared himself the victim of a "social assassination" and "false feminism," had been at the head of the women's national football team since 2015 when he replaced Ignacio Quereda. 

Quereda himself has been accused of harassment and sexism and is the subject of the 2021 Movistar+ documentary, Breaking the Silence.

RFEF apologizes for "inappropriate" actions

The RFEF issued a statement on Tuesday in which it apologized "to the football world and society at large" for Rubiales' "inappropriate" behavior at the World Cup final in Sydney.

In addition to kissing Hermoso, Rubiales has also been criticized for his crotch-grabbing gesture in the VIP box he shared with members of Spain's royal family, his uncomfortably close celebrations with other players, and his curse-laden dismissal of those criticizing his actions. 

Although the Spanish government has not been able to fire Rubiales, FIFA has suspended him from all football-related activity for 90 days.

Spain's women's team is set to play Sweden and Switzerland in the Nations League on September 22 and 26, but the World Cup-winning squad announced in a joint statement it would not return to the international team until there are "real structural changes." 

Men's team rejects "unacceptable behavior"

Spain's men's football team condemned, two weeks after the Women's World Cup final, what it describes as "unacceptable behavior on the part of Mr. Rubiales, who has not lived up to the institution he represents."

In a statement read by Atlético de Madrid striker Álvaro Morata on Monday, the team said: "Spanish football must be a driving force for respect, inspiration, equality, and diversity, and must set an example with its conduct both on and off the field."

The team expressed its "solidarity with the players whose victory has been tarnished" and said it would "like to focus on sporting matters from now on."