Jorge Vilda, it's over. The coach of the Spain women's team, close to Luis Rubiales and whose methods were criticized by his players, was finally sacked on Tuesday and replaced by his former assistant, Montse Tomé. The RFEF said in a statement "to separate from Jorge Vilda as sports director and coach of the national women's team". He is replaced by Montse Tomé, who at 41 becomes the first woman to lead the Spanish women's team.
The dismissal of Vilda was presented by the federation as "one of the first restructuring measures" following the affair of the forced kiss of Luis Rubiales after the Spanish world title, which plunged Spanish football into chaos. In office since 2015, Vilda, 42, had been let go by all of her players who announced that they would not play again under her management in reaction to Rubiales' refusal to resign. In a speech, the president of the Federation, since suspended by Fifa, had presented his gesture as a “little kiss consented” to the player Jennifer Hermoso. The international had said for her part that she felt “victim of aggression”.
Six members of the Spanish team management, including Tomé, subsequently submitted their resignations in protest against the behavior of Luis Rubiales towards Jenni Hermoso. Vilda had already been shaken in September 2022 by the unprecedented rebellion of several players who had reproached him for his methods and no longer wanted to wear the Roja jersey as long as he remained at the head of the team. Nicknamed "the group of 15", these players felt that their "emotional state" and their "health" were affected by the sometimes intrusive management of their coach and criticized the low level of his training.
Removed from the group for the preparation matches for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, most had ended up expressing their desire to return to the selection. Three of them, Mariona Caldentey, Ona Batlle and Aitana Bonmati, were finally called up for the competition, the latter even being named best player of the tournament. Despite these slings, Vilda, whom the federation presents in its press release as the "key man in the progress of Spanish women's football", had managed to bring La Roja to the roof of the world. But her isolation during the celebrations of the world coronation, on August 20 in Sydney, seemed to indicate that the conflict was not over with her players.
Vilda, who was slow to condemn Rubiales' "inappropriate behaviour" and who was filmed applauding her former boss's strong rhetoric against "false feminism", had been in the hot seat for more than two weeks. It was "the straw that broke the camel's back," said ex-captain Veronica Boquete, dismissed in 2017 for denouncing Vilda's "incompetence".
Vilda will therefore have borne the brunt of the change desired by the interim president of the federation, Pedro Rocha, at the top of Spanish football, whose image has been considerably damaged by the behavior of Rubiales, in full candidacy with Portugal and Morocco for the organization of the 2030 World Cup. "The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to all the values of football and sport" by Rubiales' attitude "has been enormous", insisted Mr. Rocha on Tuesday shortly before the announcement of the dismissal of Jorge Vilda, asking "forgiveness" to the "world of football and to the whole of society" for the "unacceptable" behavior of Rubiales. Jorge Vilda, whose contract expired in August 2024, had been confirmed in his duties by Luis Rubiales who promised him "four more years" by being paid "half a million a year".