July 14, 2024
Sacked Spain Coach Vilda Says Dismissal ‘Unjust’
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Sacked Spain Coach Vilda Says Dismissal ‘Unjust’

Sacked Spain women’s coach Jorge Vilda says he has a clear conscience and his dismissal 16 days after La Roja’s World Cup triumph was unjust.

The 42-year-old was removed from his post by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) yesterday in the wake of the Luis Rubiales scandal.

RFEF president Rubiales was suspended by FIFA after he kissed Spain player Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony in Sydney on August 20, while the Spanish government is seeking further sanction. Hermoso said the kiss was not consensual, while Rubiales continues to insist it was. After Rubiales refused to resign, over 80 players went on strike from the women’s side until the leadership of the RFEF was removed.

Before the World Cup 15 players refused to play for the national team because of disagreements with Vilda and the federation, although many relented and three were called up for the tournament.

After the tournament Rubiales had pledged to extend Vilda’s contract by four years and give him a significant pay hike.

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The former Spain women’s coach was criticised for applauding Rubiales’ controversial speech in which he railed against “false feminism” and refused to resign. Vilda said he had not spoken to Hermoso recently but knew she was suffering after the incident. Vilda took over the Spanish women’s national team in 2015, after years spent coaching younger age groups within the RFEF.

Players had complained about his training methods and tactics after Spain were eliminated in Euro 2022 by England in the quarter-finals, as well as other issues around the team.

Vilda was also criticised for being excessively “controlling” by former players. Spanish reports said he demanded to check players’ shopping bags and made the squad leave their bedroom doors open during team training camps to make sure the players were still there in the evenings.

Despite the complaints, Rubiales and the federation stood by Vilda and the coach called up several younger players to fill in for the 15 missing stars in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Vilda’s former assistant Montserrat Tome has been appointed as the new coach — it is the first time a woman has led the team.

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