Spain's women's soccer coach is released as fallout grows from unwanted World Cup kiss

September 8, 2023: On Tuesday, Spain’s women’s team coach Jorge Vilda has been sacked, the football federation said, ten days after FIFA suspended RFEF’s president for kissing team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth in celebration of Spain’s World Cup victory.

Vilda was replaced by his deputy, Montse Tome, who became the first woman to helm the women’s national team. She had been Vilda’s assistant coach since 2018 and has since “established herself as a key player in the national team’s development,” the RFEF said in a statement.

A new board formed after RFEF President Luis Rubiales’ suspension by soccer’s world governing body over the allegedly non-consensual kiss during the World Cup victory celebration two weeks ago terminated Vilda’s contract.

In a statement that gave no reason for his dismissal and did not mention Hermoso, Rubiales, or the scandal, RFEF thanked 42-year-old Vilda for his “extraordinary sporting legacy.”

“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 furor involving Rubiales has quickly spiraled into a national debate over women’s rights and sexist behavior.

In a separate statement by interim President Pedro Rocha, the RFEF apologized for Rubiales’ “inappropriate conduct.”

“The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and the values of football and sport as a whole have been enormous,” the three-page statement signed by Rocha said.

Vilda considered a close ally of Rubiales, had been under fire since last year after 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation because of inadequate coaching methods and calling for conditions to match those of the men’s squad.

Even though some demands were met, most players involved were cut from the squad.

Danae Boronat, a sports presenter who interviewed Spain’s leading female players for her book “Don’t Call Them Girls, Call Them Footballers,” said players accused Vilda of micromanaging, such as instructing senior players what to say in interviews.

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