Updated Sep 5, 2023 - Sports

Spain coach Jorge Vilda fired in fallout of Rubiales' unwanted World Cup kiss

Spain's women's national football team coach Jorge Vilda in Madrid in August 2023.

Spain's women's national football team coach Jorge Vilda in Madrid in August 2023. Photo: Angel Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images

The Spanish soccer federation fired the coach of its women's national team on Tuesday amid fallout from suspended president Luis Rubiales kissing a player on the lips during title celebrations.

Why it matters: Coach Jorge Vilda's firing comes just weeks after the team won the Women's World Cup title and after he initially praised Rubiales for not resigning when the Spanish football federation's regional leaders asked him to.

State of play: Vilda later said Rubiales' unwanted kiss against La Roja player Jenni Hermoso after the team won the Women's World Cup final in Sydney was "improper behavior."

  • Since the incident, the team has refused to play as long as Rubiales remains president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

What they're saying: The RFEF, in announcing Vilda's dismissal, said he "has been instrumental in the remarkable growth of women's football, leaving Spain as the world champion and second in the FIFA rankings."

  • Earlier on Tuesday, Pedro Rocha, RFEF's interim president, released an apology for Rubiales' "totally unacceptable behavior."
  • Spain also announced that Montse Tomé would replace Vilda as head coach of the women's national team, becoming the first woman to hold the job.

The big picture: Spanish prosecutors said last week that they have opened an investigation to determine if the kiss was sexual assault.

Go deeper: Women's World Cup shows women's soccer is bigger than ever

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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