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Jorge Vilda. Reuters
World Cup 2023 controversy

Spanish football federation sacks Jorge Vilda, head coach of Spain's women's World Cup team, and appoints assistant Montse Tomé

The coach since 2015 has fallen victim to disputes with players, the resignation of coaching staff and his support for Luis Rubiales, who still refuses to step down as president of the RFEF

José Manuel Andrés

Madrid

Tuesday, 5 September 2023, 16:17

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Jorge Vilda is now history in the Spanish women's national football team. The Spanish football federation (RFEF), now under the interim presidency of Pedro Rocha, has finally decided to put an end to the Madrid coach's tenure.

Vilda has been at the helm of the women's team in Spain since 2015, but his applause for RFEF president Luis Rubiales, following his speech at the federation's assembly to address the controversial kiss on the lips incident at the Word Cup was the straw that broke the camel's back.

He is replaced in the position by his former assistant Montse Tomé, who will be the first woman in history to coach an absolute Spanish national team. The Asturian coach, a former player for Oviedo Moderno, Levante and Barça in the top flight, was part of Vilda's coaching staff. She resigned after the controversial Rubiales meeting.

Vilda was already at the centre of controversy as far back as last summer after the Euros when 15 international players announced they were unavailable for selection for the national team if he continued as head coach.

The coach, however, said that he would remain in his post until the end of his contract in 2024. Over the following months some of the footballers involved in the "mutiny" asked to return to the national team and MVP Aitana Bonmatí, Mariona Caldentey and Ona Batlle were called up for the World Cup. Others remained out of the lineup.

The victory of La Roja was overshadowed by the saga of Rubiales and the non-consensual kiss given to player Jenni Hermoso during the medal ceremony. Vilda was criticised for applauding Rubiales and, with his president provisionally suspended by Fifa, he was left without his protector.

The announced four-season contract renewal and substancial salary increase was soon forgotten. It was just a matter of time before Vilda was removed from his post at the helm of Spain's women's team, who now have to get back on course ready for the Women's Nations League which starts in three weeks' time.

Vilda's sacking this Tuesday ends his eight-year period at the helm of the national team who he led through the World Cup in France 2019 and Australia and New Zealand this year, as well as the Euros in Netherlands in 2017 and England in 2022, when Spain were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

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