RFEF fires women’s head coach and Rubiales-backed ally Jorge Vilda

September 6 – Women’s world champions Spain are looking for a new national coach after Jorge Vilda was fired amid the controversy involving suspended federation president Luis Rubiales.

Vilda (pictured left with Rubiales) was removed from his position 10 days after FIFA barred Rubiales temporarily during an investigation into him kissing Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth in celebration of the country’s World Cup victory.

“The Royal Spanish Football Federation… has decided to dispense with the services of Jorge Vilda as sports director and women’s national team coach,” the RFEF said in a statement.

Vilda, who has been the team’s coach since 2015, is known for being close to Luis Rubiales and his dismissal had been widely expected after he was initially seen applauding a belligerent speech by Rubiales to the RFEF in which he refused to resign and railed against “false feminism”.

The coach later changed his tune and spoke out against Rubiales’ behaviour, describing it as “inappropriate and unacceptable”, but it was too little, too late.

The RFEF said Vilda’s dismissal was “the first of a string of restructuring measures” aimed at improving the governance within the federation in the wake of the Rubiales scandal, which has exposed what critics claim is a deep-rooted misogyny within Spanish football.

Tellingly, however, the statement gave no actual reason for his dismissal and did not mention Hermoso, Rubiales or the scandal, instead thanking 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.

Vilda came under fire a year ago after 15 members on the women’s national team refused to play under him, pointing to incidents under his leadership they claimed were affecting their performance on the pitch.

The latest announcement came shortly after the RFEF sent its “most sincere apologies” for the “totally unacceptable behaviour” of suspended Rubiales and pledged immediate action to improve its governance and “to repair, as far as possible, the damage caused”.

Vilda was replaced by his assistant, Montse Tome, who becomes the first woman to lead Spain’s national team. She had been assistant coach since 2018 and has since “established herself as a key player in the national team’s growth”, the RFEF said.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1719060204labto1719060204ofdlr1719060204owedi1719060204sni@w1719060204ahsra1719060204w.wer1719060204dna1719060204