Spain’s World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda sacked amid kiss scandal

5 September 2023, 15:09 | Updated: 5 September 2023, 15:22

Jorge Vilda (L) and Luis Rubiales celebrated together after Spain’s football federation president’s kiss on Hermoso
Jorge Vilda (L) and Luis Rubiales celebrated together after Spain’s football federation president’s kiss on Hermoso. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The coach of Spain's World Cup-winning women's football team has been sacked.

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Jorge Vilda, had remained in his role despite most of his coaching staff resigning in protest against federation president Luis Rubiales' refusal to quit for kissing squad member Jenni Hermoso after their World Cup win on 20 August - but he was sacked today.

A new board formed after the suspension of RFEF President Luis Rubiales by FIFA over the allegedly unsolicited kiss during the World Cup victory celebration two weeks ago agreed to terminate the contract of Vilda - who is considered a close ally of the under-fire president Mr Rubiales.

The Spanish FA has said it was "embarrassed" by the actions of Mr Rubiales.

Read more: Spain football chief Luis Rubiales claims kiss with Jenni Hermoso was 'mutual and consented'

Read more: Embattled Luis Rubiales sends Fifa new footage of Spanish players laughing at Jenni Hermoso kiss

Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by FIFA for an initial period of 90 days, pending an investigation into his behaviour at the World Cup final earlier this month when he kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medals presentation.

Hermoso, along with her 22 squad mates, has said she will not play for the national team until Rubiales resigns.

Spanish football kiss scandal - how it unfolded

August 20 - Rubiales, who had earlier been filmed grabbing his crotch in celebration of Spain's 1-0 victory over England in the World Cup final while standing alongside Spain's

Queen Letizia and 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofia in the VIP box at Stadium Australia, kisses forward Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony. Hermoso is later heard in a social media post saying she "didn't like" the kiss.

August 20 - Later the same night, the RFEF releases a statement on Hermoso's behalf in which she is quoted as saying: "It was a totally spontaneous mutual gesture due to the immense joy of winning a World Cup. The president and I have a great relationship, his behaviour with all of us has been excellent and it was a natural gesture of affection and gratitude."

August 21 - After his behaviour is described as "unacceptable" by Spain's acting culture and sports minister Miquel Iceta, Rubiales issues a video statement apologising for his actions and saying: "There is something I regret, and it was what happened between me and a player, with whom I have a fantastic relationship, just like with the others, where I have certainly made a mistake. I have to admit it."

August 22 - Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez brands Rubiales' conduct "unacceptable" and his apology "not sufficient" during a reception for the victorious players on their return. The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) condemns such behaviour as "never appropriate or acceptable".

August 23 - World players' union FIFPRO calls on governing body FIFA to investigate the "deeply lamentable" incident.

August 24 - FIFA opens proceedings against Rubiales over alleged breaches of sections of its disciplinary code covering "offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play". Reports emerge that Rubiales will quit ahead of an emergency meeting of the Spanish football federation's general assembly.

August 25 - Standing before representatives of Spain's regional federations, clubs, players, coaches and referees in Madrid, a defiant Rubiales repeatedly insists he will not resign and accuses "false feminists" of mounting a witch hunt, to applause from sections of the audience. Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas takes to social media to describe his stance as "unacceptable" and the Spanish government signals its intention to push for his suspension.

August 25 - FUTPRO releases a statement signed by 81 players, including every member of the World Cup-winning squad, indicating their unavailability for the national team while Rubiales remains in post.

August 25 - Hermoso releases a statement accusing the RFEF of presiding over "a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture" and placing her under "continuous pressure to come up with a statement that could justify the act of Mr Luis Rubiales".

August 26 - The RFEF threatens Hermoso with legal action over her comments. Rubiales is later banned "from all football-related activities at national and international level" for an initial period of 90 days by FIFA.

August 26 - Spain women's coaching staff, with the notable exception of manager Jorge Vilda, resign en masse. Vilda later criticises Rubiales' conduct in a statement issued to Marca, saying, "There is no doubt that it is unacceptable and does not reflect at all the principles and values that I defend in my life, in sport in general and in football in particular."

August 28 - Reports in Spain say Rubiales' mother, Angeles Bejar, is on hunger strike after locking herself in a church in protest at her son's "inhuman" treatment at the hands of his critics.

August 28 - The regional heads of Spanish football demand Rubiales' resignation as reports claim the RFEF has asked UEFA to suspend its teams from international competition.

September 5 - Jorge Vilda - the team's coach and an ally of Rubiales, has been sacked

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