The Spanish soccer federation has taken the decision to fire women’s national team coach Jorge Vilda, less than three weeks after his team clinched the Women’s World Cup title. The controversial actions of suspended federation president Luis Rubiales ultimately led to this decision.
During the title celebrations in Sydney last month, Rubiales faced severe criticism for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent. In addition, his lewd victory gesture, which involved grabbing his crotch, served as a catalyst for public outrage. As a result, FIFA has provisionally suspended Rubiales, and he is also facing a legal case filed by the Spanish government.
Vilda, who initially supported Rubiales' decision not to resign despite the backlash, later described his behavior as inappropriate. Men's coach Luis de la Fuente also expressed his support for Rubiales by condemning what he called "false feminists." However, de la Fuente, acknowledging his mistake, apologized for his actions.
The captains of Spain’s men’s national team recently voiced their disapproval of Rubiales' actions and showed solidarity with the Women’s World Cup-winning team.
It is worth noting that Vilda's position as coach had already been in jeopardy less than a year ago when fifteen players withdrew from the national team due to concerns regarding their mental well-being. They demanded a more professional environment, and only three of them returned for the World Cup.
Throughout this turbulent period, Vilda received strong backing from Rubiales.
Pedro Rocha, the current president of the Spanish soccer federation, released a letter on Tuesday apologizing for Rubiales' behavior. He stated that the federation takes full responsibility and offers sincere apologies to the soccer world, fans, players (especially those on the women's national team), and all relevant institutions. Rocha emphasized that Rubiales' conduct does not reflect the values of Spanish society, its representatives, athletes, or sports administrators.
The decision to dismiss Vilda serves as a clear statement that the federation is committed to maintaining high standards and prioritizing the well-being of its players.