Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Spanish federation sacks World Cup-winning head coach

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Jorge Vilda, Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning head coach, has been sacked amid the ongoing Luis Rubiales scandal.

Spain’s win was overshadowed by the country’s football federation president Rubiales kissing forward Jenni Hermoso, which she said was not consensual.

Rubiales has refused to resign but has been provisionally suspended by FIFA, football’s world governing body.

In a statement, Spanish federation the RFEF did not give a specific reason for Vilda’s dismissal, saying he had been “a promoter of the values ​​of respect and sportsmanship in football”.

However, the RFEF has been exploring whether it could sack Vilda – considered a close ally of Rubiales – since last week.

He was spotted applauding Rubiales at the RFEF’s extraordinary general assembly earlier in August – when Rubiales repeatedly insisted he would not resign and said he would offer Vilda a new deal – though he has since criticised his behaviour.

“The RFEF appreciates [Vilda’s] work at the head of the national team and in his functions as the head of sports for the women’s teams, as well as the successes achieved during his time crowned with the recent achievement of the World Cup,”said the RFEF.

“We value his impeccable personal and sporting conduct, being a key piece in the notable growth of women’s football in Spain.”

Vilda, who had been in charge of the national team since 2015, survived a player ‘revolt’ in September 2022, when the RFEF released a statement revealing 15 players had submitted identical emails saying they would not play for Vilda unless “significant” concerns over their “emotional state” and “health” were addressed.

‘Las 15’ – as the players became known – denied claims they had asked for Vilda, who has always maintained the support of Rubiales, to be sacked, but tension followed amid reports of concerns over training methods and inadequate game preparation.

Of those 15, just three ended their exile and were back in the squad as Spain beat England in the World Cup final in Sydney last month.

Vilda oversaw 108 matches as Spain coach, winning 75, and reached the European Championship quarter-finals in 2017 and 2022.

The World Cup winners are currently second in the FIFA women’s world rankings.

The RFEF’s statement added: “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 RFEF is left with an extraordinary sporting legacy thanks to the implementation of a recognised game model and a methodology that has been an engine of growth for all the women’s categories of the national team.” (BBC)

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