The head coach of the Spanish women’s football team could be sacked today, as the fallout from ‘kissgate’ continues.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) is considering dismissing Jorge Vilda just 10 days after his side won the Women’s World Cup, Sky Sports has said.
The Spain boss is under pressure after he applauded RFEF President Luis Rubiales’ controversial speech at the RFEF extraordinary assembly last Friday.
Rubiales has faced widespread criticism after he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips in the aftermath of Spain’s 1-0 victory against England in the final on 20 August.
Addressing Vilda directly on Friday, Rubiales called him the best coach in women’s football and offered him a new four-year contract worth €500,000 (£429,000) a year.
By Saturday, Vilda had changed his tune, releasing a statement criticising Rubiales, but stopping short of calling for his resignation or dismissal.
Rubiales has refused to quit, saying the kiss was consensual; Hermoso said it wasn’t. Rubiales has already been provisionally suspended “from all football-related activities at national and international level” by the sport’s world governing body FIFA.
Acting RFEF president Pedro Rocha is expected to make a decision on Vilda’s future by today.
Vilda currently has no players or coaches for upcoming games after Spain’s squad said last Friday they would not play for their country again until the leadership at the federation had been removed.
All of Vilda’s 11-strong backroom team quit a day later.
Vilda also has a track record of alienating players and has been a divisive figure as head coach of the women’s team.
Who is Luis Rubiales?
‘Eye-opening response’ in Madrid to World Cup kiss
Who said what in World Cup kiss row
Last year, 15 players said they would not play for him again because of concerns about their health and emotional state and 12 of them missed the World Cup.
The Spanish football federation wants Rubiales to resign following his controversial kiss at the Women’s World Cup final.
One person still backing him is his mother, Angeles Béjar, who has been on a hunger strike since Monday.
She has locked herself in a church in Motril, in southern Spain, and promised to stay there until justice is done for her son.
Ms Bejar said Jenni Hermoso should “tell the truth” about the controversial incident dubbed ‘kissgate’.
But her position doesn’t appear to be shared by many, with protests taking place against what some are calling ‘Spain’s #metoo moment’.
Spain’s men’s head coach Luis de la Fuente’s position is thought to be safer, even though he also applauded Rubiales’ speech.
De la Fuentes also issued a statement criticising the suspended president the following day.
The men’s team has Euro qualifiers next month against Georgia and Cyprus, while the women’s world champions have Nations League games against Sweden and Switzerland.