Spain sack Jorge Vilda as ‘kiss-gate’ controversy soars

Spain sack Jorge Vilda as ‘kiss-gate’ controversy soars

Spain has fired its women’s team head coach Jorge Vilda in the aftermath of the Luis Rubiales ‘kiss-gate’ controversy, marking a significant change within the nation’s football setup.

Despite guiding Spain to a crucial 1-0 victory over England in the Women’s World Cup final last month, Vilda’s position had become increasingly contentious.

Jorge Vilda
Jorge Vilda led Spain to the 2023 Women’s World Cup trophy in Australia in August. [Photo/Courtesy].

Pressure to dismiss Vilda mounted when the regional presidents’ committee of the Spanish FA called for his removal amid the ongoing Rubiales controversy.

Luis Rubiales, a close ally of Vilda, had faced significant scrutiny following the controversial incident in which he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips after Spain’s World Cup final win against England.

Following a meeting with acting Spain FA president Pedro Rocha, Vilda’s departure from the coaching role was confirmed.

Pedro Rocha
Acting Spain FA president Pedro Rocha who has now fired head coach Jorge Vilda. [Photo/Courtesy].

The Spanish FA expressed gratitude for Vilda’s contributions to the development of women’s football in the country in an official statement.

“The RFEF would like to express its gratitude to Jorge Vilda for the services provided, for his professionalism and dedication during all these years, wishing him the best successes in the future,” the FA said.

The RFEF issued an apology on Tuesday, acknowledging the significant harm caused by the recent kiss controversy.

Luis Rubiales
Rubiales puts his hands on the back of Hermoso’s head. He kisses her on the lips. [Photo/Courtesy].

They stated that Luis Rubiales’ conduct did not align with the values of the federation and expressed their embarrassment over his actions.

In an official statement, the RFEF also indicated that leadership changes at the highest level of the organization were imminent.

“We are sorry that this incident has disrupted what should have been an ongoing celebration of football both for our national team and that of England’s Lionesses, who were a truly remarkable rival in a thrilling final,” the RFEF said.

Jorge Vilda
Jorge Vilda during a training session with the Spain Women’s football team. [Photo/Courtesy].

Prior to the World Cup final, doubts had already arisen regarding Vilda’s leadership when 15 Spanish players declined to represent him.

These players cited concerns related to their well-being and emotional state as their reasons for opting out.

Remarkably, only three of those players eventually rejoined the team for the World Cup campaign.