The coach of Spain’s FIFA World Cup-winning women’s football team, Jorge Vilda has been fired, less than three weeks after the victory celebration that led to the suspension of the country’s football federation president for kissing a player.
The Spanish football federation offered no immediate explanation for the dismissal on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ time), saying only that Jorge Vilda was “key to the notable growth of women’s football” and thanking him for leading the national team to the World Cup title and to No 2 in the FIFA rankings – their highest ever position.
Vilda was among those who at first applauded federation president Luis Rubiales when he refused to resign despite facing widespread criticism for kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent during the title celebrations last month in Sydney.
One of Vilda’s assistant coaches, Montse Tomé, was appointed to replace him. She will be the first woman to hold the job.
Rubiales, who also grabbed his crotch in a lewd victory gesture after the final game, has been provisionally suspended by FIFA and faces a Spanish government case against him for the conduct that prompted a storm of criticism and led to widespread calls for his resignation.
Vilda later said Rubiales’ behaviour was improper. Men’s football coach Luis de la Fuente also initially applauded Rubiales for a diatribe against what he called “false feminists.” De la Fuente later apologised and said his applause was an “inexcusable” human error.