Jorge Vilda fired by Spanish Football Association amid Luis Rubiales kiss row

Jorge Vilda, the World-Cup-winning head coach of Spain’s women’s team, has been sacked amid the on-going Luis Rubiales kiss row. 

The head coach, who oversaw La Roja’s first World Cup victory despite mutiny from the team over his methods, before the tournament started, has been replaced by his assistant Montse Tomé. 

In recent weeks, Spanish football has been thrown into disarray and the team’s victory overshadowed after its president, Rubiales, kissed forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony. 

Hermoso said she did not consent to the kiss and the act has been described as a #MeToo moment for women’s football. 

The aftermath has seen more than 80 female players refuse to appear for the national team until Rubiales steps down, while a majority of Vilda’s coaching staff resigned. 

Rubiales has been suspended by world governing body FIFA for 90 days but has refused to step down and claimed Hermoso is lying over the kiss not being consensual. 

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The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) did not give a specific reason for Vilda’s dismissal, instead praising the “successes achieved during his time” and saying it valued his “impeccable personal and sporting conduct”. 

A statement read: “The RFEF would like to express its gratitude to Jorge Vilda for the services provided, for his professionalism and dedication during all these years, wishing him the best successes in the future.”

“The RFEF is left with an extraordinary sporting legacy thanks to the implementation of a recognised game model and a methodology that has been an engine of growth for all the women’s categories of the national team.”

Spanish football federation boss Luis Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the World Cup final
Luis Rubiales kisses Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup final, sparking a huge row. (Getty Images)

In succeeding Vilda, Tomé becomes the first female head coach of the national team. 

The RFEF described her as a “fundamental piece in the growth of the national team” in recent years, with her appointment a part of acting RFEF president Pedro Rocha’s “regeneration measures”. 

On Tuesday (5 September), Rocha sought to distance the federation from Rubiales’ actions. 

His statement reads: “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. 

“Mr Rubiales’ actions do not represent the values defended by the Spanish federation, nor the values of Spanish society as a whole.

“His actions must be attributed solely and exclusively to him, since he is the one solely responsible for those actions before society, before the sport’s governing bodies and, if applicable, before justice.

“To be clear, this position was that of Mr Rubiales, not that of the RFEF. We feel especially sorry and ashamed for the pain and additional distress this has caused.”