Spain’s football federation (RFEF) has sacked Jorge Vilda, the coach of its World Cup-winning women’s team, the RFEF said on Tuesday, 10 days after FIFA suspended its president for kissing national team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth.
A new board formed after the suspension of RFEF President Luis Rubiales by soccer’s world governing body FIFA over the allegedly non-consensual kiss during the World Cup victory celebration two weeks ago has terminated Vilda’s contract.
In a statement that did not mention Hermoso, Rubiales or the scandal, the 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 furore involving Rubiales has quickly 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 inadequate coaching methods and calling for conditions to match those of the men’s squad.
Most of the players involved were cut from the squad even as some demands were met.
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.
Vilda and Luis de La Fuente, the men’s national team manager, applauded Rubiales when he refused to resign on Aug. 25 but later issued statements condemning his behaviour.
Reporting by Fernando Kallas; additional reporting by Inti Landauro; Writing by Charlie Devereux; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Ken Ferris
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