The head coach of Spain’s national women’s soccer team could be sacked, according to reports, amid ongoing investigations of Luis Rubiales’ non-consensual kiss with Jenni Hermoso.
Sources from the Spanish football federation (RFEF) told Reuters they are considering terminating Jorge Vilda as head coach of the Spanish side, a role he has held since 2015.
Vilda led his team to FIFA World Cup victory on August 20, where the Spanish national team defeated the English Lionesses 1-0 in the final.
The historic win, however, has been overshadowed by Luis Rubiales, the president of RFEF, who kissed Spanish player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent as she was awarded her World Cup medal.
Although FIFA suspended Rubiales for 90 days to investigate the incident, Rubiales refuses to resign as the Spanish football federation president.
“I will not resign, I will not resign, I will not resign!” he said at a Federation meeting this week.
Vilda, who applauded Rubiales after his speech, is among those who have backed the RFEF president.
Fifty-eight of Spain’s top female soccer players have declared their refusal to play for their country as long as the existing leadership remains in place.
As the RFEF board negotiates with the players, they are reportedly exploring their options to end the strike, including the option of sacking Vilda.
Last year, 15 players from the Spanish national women’s team wrote letters to the RFEF calling for the termination of Vilda and other coaching staff over claims of inappropriate conduct.
However, the RFEF supported Vilda, and 12 out of the 15 players who took action did not attend the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Reuters reported the RFEF are determining a severance package for Vilda which will equal his salary of 160,000 euros ($267,632 AUD).
Hundreds of people in Spain have stood in solidarity with the nation’s female soccer players in what has been described as Spain’s #MeToo movement, with a new hashtag, #SeAcabo (#ItsOver).
‘It really hurts me.’
On Thursday, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) awarded Sarina Wiegman, the head coach of the English Lionesses, with the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award.
In her acceptance speech, Wiegman dedicated her award to the Spanish women’s soccer team.
“It (winning the award) feels a little different,” she said.
“We all know the issues around the Spanish team, and it really hurts me – as a coach, as a mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a human being.”
Sarina Wiegman was one of the 12 female coaches in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, who led the English Lionesses to the final of the tournament. Just 12 out of the 32 teams in the competition were coached by women.
Despite England’s loss in the final, Wiegman called for more to be done to celebrate the victory of their opposing team, Spain, and to consider the seriousness of the incident with Rubiales and Hermoso.
“The game has grown so much, but there’s also still a long way to go in women’s football and in society,” she said.
“This team deserves to be celebrated and deserves to be listened to.”
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