The women’s national team coach, Jorge Vilda, was handed a pink slip by the Spanish soccer federation, just weeks after his team’s triumphant Women’s World Cup win.
This was started by federation president Luis Rubiales, whose actions during the World Cup celebrations left an indelible mark on Spanish soccer. Rubiales, who found himself at the center of global condemnation, faced allegations of forcibly kissing star player Jenni Hermoso on the lips without her consent. This was not the conduct expected from a high-ranking official, and Rubiales also made an inappropriate lewd gesture by grabbing his crotch during the jubilant celebrations.
FIFA provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days from all soccer-related activities as disciplinary proceedings loomed large.
Jorge Vilda, despite leading the Spanish women’s team to World Cup glory, found himself ensnared in the controversy. Vilda publicly supported Rubiales during the turbulent times, a stance that cast doubt on his own position. However, he later distanced himself from Rubiales’ actions, recognizing their impropriety.
Notably, the women’s World Cup victory had already been marred by internal strife within the team. Last year, a significant number of top players had refused to play under Vilda, citing concerns over his controlling approach. Only three of those players returned to the squad, and the team’s journey to its first-ever World Cup title was marked by this internal turmoil.
The men’s national team coach, Luis de la Fuente, initially applauded Rubiales’ defiant stance but later issued a public apology, acknowledging his “inexcusable human error.”
In a touching display of support, Spain’s men’s national team captains stood by the Women’s World Cup champions and condemned the actions of federation president Luis Rubiales.
Current federation president Pedro Rocha issued a heartfelt apology, expressing regrets to the global football community, with a special focus on the women’s national soccer teams of Spain and England.