2023, SEPTEMBER 05 – Jorge Vilda, the coach who led Spain‘s women’s national football team to victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, has been dismissed by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). This decision comes amidst the controversy surrounding the suspension of Luis Rubiales, the Spanish FA president, for 90 days by FIFA due to his unsolicited kiss on forward Jenni Hermoso.
The committee of regional presidents in charge of the RFEF, led by Pedro Rocha, made the decision to fire Vilda. This decision was conveyed to Vilda shortly after the RFEF issued a statement apologising for what they described as “totally unacceptable behaviour” by Rubiales and stating their cooperation with disciplinary action against him.
Following Vilda’s dismissal, Montse Tomé has been named as his replacement, marking the first time a woman has coached the Spain women’s team in its history. Tomé had been Vilda’s assistant coach since 2018.
The controversy surrounding Rubiales’ actions has overshadowed Spain’s victory in the Women’s World Cup. All 23 members of Spain’s winning squad co-signed a statement last month, joined by 58 other current and former players, stating they would not return to play for the national team again “if the current management continues.”
The situation escalated further when 15 players complained about the management structure last September. While Vilda initially remained silent over Rubiales’ behaviour, he later criticised his “improper behavior” after several staff members resigned last month. However, his role in last September’s crisis with Spain’s women’s team and the belated nature of his criticism led to his dismissal.
Vilda, who spent time at FC Barcelona, Rayo Vallecano, and Real Madrid‘s academies as a player, had been with the RFEF since 2009, starting as the assistant coach to his father, Angel, with the under-19 women’s team. Under Vilda’s leadership, Spain failed to win a knockout game at major tournaments, including UEFA Women’s Euro 2017, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
The players pushed for changes within the RFEF, including improvements to travel, preparation, and the backroom staff. They also complained about elements of Vilda’s management style. In September, 15 players announced they would no longer play for the national team until significant changes were made.
The controversy surrounding the RFEF, Vilda’s dismissal, and Rubiales’ suspension has raised questions about the future of women’s football in Spain and the governance of the sport in the country.