The Spanish Football Federation has taken the decisive step of sacking women's manager Jorge Vilda, a mere two weeks after his team's World Cup victory, as the Luis Rubiales crisis continues to unfold.
The tumultuous situation surrounding Luis Rubiales, the president of the Federation (RFEF), has cast a dark shadow over Spanish football, The RFEF has strongly condemned Rubiales' actions in an attempt to distance itself from its suspended president.
The catalyst for these recent developments was Rubiales's conduct during the World Cup final, He ignited controversy by kissing forward Jenni Hermoso on the lips during Spain's trophy presentation. Additionally, he was photographed engaging physically with other players, kissing them on the cheek, and making an aggressive gesture towards his own groin area. As a result, FIFA provisionally suspended Rubiales from all football-related activities and forbade him from contacting Hermoso or her close associates during an ongoing investigation.
In response to mounting pressure, Rubiales defiantly refused to step down and labeled the situation a "witch hunt" during a speech to RFEF officials and the media. Jorge Vilda, the now-dismissed women's team head coach, was even seen applauding Rubiales during this speech, despite appointing Vilda to the position in 2015. Later, Vilda issued a statement condemning Rubiales' behavior but did not tender his resignation, leading to his removal from his post according to multiple reports in Spain.
Vilda had long been a divisive figure among the Spanish squad, with his leadership causing discontent within the team. A year ago, 15 players made themselves unavailable for selection, citing the negative impact of the national team's environment on their mental health and emotional well-being. They expressed frustration with Vilda's managerial approach and criticized the outdated nature of the national setup, which fell below their club-level standards in various aspects, such as travel conditions and staffing.
Among their grievances were demands to leave their hotel room doors unlocked until midnight and routine bag checks. However, it is Vilda's support for Rubiales, rather than his controversial tenure culminating in a World Cup win, that led to his dismissal.
The RFEF has the authority to remove Rubiales through a vote of no confidence by its assembly, This vote requires the support of one-third of members to be tabled and two-thirds to pass, Despite the ongoing crisis and its damage to Spain's bid to co-host the 2030 men's World Cup, Rubiales still retains allies within the organization.
Nevertheless, the current RFEF president, Pedro Rocha, has distanced the organization from Rubiales's actions through a letter expressing his "shame" for them, Rocha emphasized that Rubiales's actions do not represent the values defended by the Spanish Federation or Spanish society as a whole, He stressed that Rubiales alone bears responsibility for his actions before society, sports governing bodies, and potentially the justice system, The letter concluded with an apology for the pain and additional distress caused by these events.