Spain Women’s Soccer Head Coach Fired After World Cup Win Kiss

Posted on: September 5, 2023, 02:55h. 

Last updated on: September 6, 2023, 07:28h.

Jorge Vilda, head coach of Spain’s Women’s World Cup-winning soccer team, was fired Tuesday by the country’s soccer governing body, RFEF.

Jorge Vilda, Luis Rubiales, Jenni Hermoso, Women’s World Cup
Rubiales’ kisses Spain forward Jenni Hermoso, right. The head coach, who appeared to support his boss over the player, was fired Tuesday. (Image: Getty/

Vilda was fired after a controversial nonconsensual kiss between RFEF president Luis and forward Jenni Hermoso. Hermoso later stated the action was neither welcome nor consensual.

In a speech just days after the final, Rubiales insisted the kiss had been consensual and refused calls to resign. He added that the RFEF would act against the player because of her “lies.” Vilda, a close ally of Rubiales, was spotted applauding the speech.

Some 81 players, including all members of the World Cup-winning squad, refused to play for the national team while Rubiales remained in his position.

Vilda was suspended as RFEF president by the world soccer governing body, FIFA, on August 26. Vilda coached the team for eight years. Montse Tome, the first woman to hold the position, will replace him.

The move was unprecedented, given the recent World Cup win. In the game, Spain beat England 1-0 in a hard-fought contest at Sydney Stadium, Australia. But the victory has been wrecked by a kiss.

RFEF Issues Statement

While the federation did not offer a reason for Vilda’s removal, an official RFEF statement described the sacking as “one of the first renewal measures” following the scandal.

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.

However, the RFEF was less complimentary towards Rubiales and apologized for the “unacceptable behavior of its highest institutional representative during the final.”

The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and the values ​​of football and sport as a whole have been enormous,” the federation said.

Vilda’s tenure was not without controversy. In September 2022, he faced a revolt by 15 players who told RFEF they would refuse to play for Vilda unless concerns over their “emotional state” and “health” were addressed. Just three of those 15 were welcomed back into the fold to play England in the World Cup final.