Luis Rubiales has lost a powerful ally.
Spain coach Jorge Vilda on Saturday broke with Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), condemning Rubiales’ “inappropriate behavior.”
Rubiales gave Spain star Jenni Hermoso an unsolicited kiss during the team’s World Cup medal ceremony, sparking mass criticism for the global soccer community. Rubiales in recent days has resisted calls to resign and has instead said Hermoso is lying.
“The events that have taken place since Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in its history and to this day have been a real nonsense and have generated an unprecedented situation, tarnishing a well-deserved victory for our players and our country,” Vilda said in a statement. “I regret deeply that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behaviour that our until now top leader, Luis Rubiales, has carried out and that he himself has recognised.”
Last year, 15 players criticized Vilda’s management style in a letter written to the RFEF. Rubiales decided then to back Vilda, but now, Vilda has turned on his boss after he was provisionally suspended for 90 days by FIFA.
Following the suspension, Rafael del Amo, RFEF’s vice president, resigned, and so did four assistants for Spain’s senior team, two from the women’s youth teams and five staff members across the senior and youth women’s team.
“There is no doubt that it is unacceptable and does not reflect at all the principles and values that I defend in my life, in sport in general and in football in particular,” Vilda said in the statement.”I condemn without doubt any macho attitude, [which should be] far from an advanced and developed society. A clearly undesirable climate has been generated, far from what should have been a great celebration of Spanish sport and women’s sport.
“I reiterate my unwavering commitment to promoting a sport that is a model of equality and respect in our society.”