Spain soccer coach Jorge Vilda fired amid Luis Rubiales’ World Cup kiss scandal

Jorge Vilda, the controversial Spanish women’s soccer coach who supported federation president Luis Rubiales during his World Cup kiss scandal, was fired Tuesday amid the latter’s FIFA-instituted suspension.

Vilda was the coach of the Spanish club that won the World Cup last month, despite numerous players criticizing the team’s culture under his leadership ahead of the international soccer tournament. Many of the players who condemned Vilda did not compete in the World Cup.

Rubiales stood by Vilda through that controversy. Vilda then initially supported Rubiales’ refusal to resign as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after his unsolicited kiss of Spanish soccer star Jenni Hermoso following the World Cup win garnered widespread outrage. Vilda has since spoken out against Rubiales’ kiss.

The RFEF fired Vilda shortly after it released a statement Tuesday calling Rubiales’ behavior “totally unacceptable.” In addition to kissing Hermoso on the lips during the medal ceremony, Rubiales grabbed his crotch in celebration after Spain’s 1-0 win in the title game over England as 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía stood nearby.

“Those actions do not reflect at all the values of the whole Spanish society, its institutions, its representatives, its athletes and the leaders of Spanish sport,” said Pedro Rocha, who is currently serving as RFEF president.

“The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous.”

Last week, FIFA suspended Rubiales for 90 days amid an investigation by its disciplinary committee.

Hermoso — the Spain women’s national team’s all-time leading goal scorer — said after the kiss that she “felt the victim of aggression.” She and her 22 teammates vowed not to return to the Spanish national team if “the current management continues,” according to ESPN.

The World Cup championship was the first ever for the Spanish women’s team.

“We are sorry that this incident has disrupted what should have been an ongoing celebration of football,” Rocha said Tuesday.

“We feel deeply sorry for the damage caused and therefore, we must ask for the most sincere apologies and acquire a firm and absolute commitment that facts like these can never happen again.”

With News Wire Services