Jorge Vilda has been sacked as coach and sporting director of the Spanish national women's football team. The interim president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), Pedro Rocha, informed Vilda of his dismissal in a private meeting held this Tuesday in the football complex of Las Rozas, Madrid. It is only two weeks since the Spanish women's team, with Vilda as coach, beat England to win the World Cup in Australia, but the continuity of the women's coach has been hanging by a thread after he had applauded the speech of the president of the RFEF - now suspended - Luis Rubiales, in the special assembly of the Spanish football body, as well as having failed to respond to the demands of the players. The federation has announced that Montse Tomé, until now second coach of the team, will be his substitute, and she will thus become the first woman to hold this position in Spain.
The decision to terminate Vilda had already been taken, and is part of a restructuring of the organization that the territorial presidents, with Rocha at the head, agreed to in response to the crisis that has blazed through the institution following the behaviour of Rubiales at the World Cup final, as well as the refusal of the women's team to play for the national side until there was a change of leadership at the top of the institution.
RFEF highlights Vilda's legacy and "personal conduct"
In a statement, the RFEF informed of its decision to dismiss the coach in a text which also repeatedly thanks Vilda for his work at the head of the national team and the "successes" achieved during his time. "We value his irreproachable personal and sporting conduct, being a key element in the remarkable growth of women's football in Spain," the Federation stressed. After reviewing the triumphs achieved during his period in charge, which began in 2015, and which have brought the women's team "into the elite", the RFEF wishes him "the best of successes" for the future and concludes by expressing gratitude for his "extraordinary sports legacy".
From winning a World Cup to being sacked in two weeks
The figure of Vilda as coach of the national team was already controversial before the Rubiales case broke out. Last September, fifteen players refused to play for the national team because of their dissatisfaction with the coach and his way of managing the team, especially after they were eliminated against England in the European cup of nations. The footballers denied having asked for the dismissal of the coach, but the tensions and the rejection towards him by part of the dressing room were evident.
Later, some of those players agreed to be called up for the World Cup, although seven of them remained firm. The women's team became World Champions on August 20th with Vilda as coach, but his leadership continued to receive criticism. In fact, his words after the win in Sydney, in which he called them campiones - in the masculine form - instead of campionas of the world, caused resentment among fans.
The non-consensual kiss by Luis Rubiales to team player Jennifer Hermoso after the match, and pressure from both him and Vilda to try to persuade Hermoso to apologize to ease the pressure on the RFEF president increased the distance between the players and coach. Then, his applause for Rubiales during the speech in which the football president refused to resign, arguing that the kiss had been mutually consented was a further step that showed the coach was not supporting his players. In addition, at the same fiery meeting, the then president of the RFEF announced that he was renewing Vilda's contract for another four years with a salary of half a million euros per year. Later, Vilda condemned his boss's behaviour in a lukewarm statement that came too late.
Montse Tomé, first woman to coach the Spanish national side
As replacement for the sacked Jorge Vilda, the RFEF has named Montse Tomé, who will become the first woman to hold this position in Spain. Tomé had until now been number two in Vilda's coaching team, but along with other members of the coaching squad - and with the exception of Vilda - she announced her resignation after the refusal of Rubiales to resign. A 42-year-old from Asturias, Tomé was a player until 2012, when she decided to train as a coach. Since 2018 she has been the second coach of the women's team within the Vilda team. The RFEF has also published a presentation video of the new coach highlighting that she has dedicated "her whole life" to football.