Spain women’s football coach says World Cup kiss row has ‘tarnished a well-deserved victory’ and is a ‘real nonsense’ as he slams Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales’ ‘inappropriate behaviour’
- Head coach Jorge Vilda had been a staunch ally of the embattled president
The head coach of Spain’s women’s football team says the kissing row involving Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has ‘tarnished a well-deserved victory’.
Jorge Vilda said Rubiales’ behaviour had been ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unacceptable’ after he kissed footballer Jenni Hermoso on the lips as she collected her winner’s medal after Spain won the FIFA Women’s World Cup last week.
Rubiales has since been provisionally suspended by FIFA following the incident and the subsequent fallout, which has seen Hermoso say she did not consent to the kiss, the Spanish FA threaten to sue her and the Spain women’s coaching staff resign en masse.
Vilda, who has been head coach of the women’s national team since 2015, was the only member of the coaching staff not to step down – he has previously been a supporter of Rubiales.
Last week the 42-year-old was seen clapping a speech made by Rubiales in which the embattled president vowed not to step down and railed against ‘false feminists’ and ‘witch hunts’.
The head coach of Spain’s women Jorge Vilda, pictured here celebrating their World Cup victory, says the kissing row that has engulfed the team since then has overshadowed their success
Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by FIFA after kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the medal presentation (pictured)
Rubiales, pictured centre with Vilda right, has vowed not to step down from his position despite mounting calls for his resignation
But now Vilda has criticised the football association boss, calling the row a ‘real nonsense’ that have overshadowed his teams historic World Cup triumph.
In a statement published in Marca, he said: ‘The events that have taken place since Spain won the Women’s World Cup for the first time in its history… have been a real nonsense and have generated an unprecedented situation, tarnishing a deserved triumph of our players and our country.
READ MORE HERE – Luis Rubiales vs Jenni Hermoso: Who said what in row over THAT World Cup kiss
‘I deeply regret that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been harmed by the inappropriate behaviour that our until now president, Luis Rubiales, has carried out and that he himself has acknowledged.
‘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.
‘A clearly undesirable climate has been generated, far from what should have been a great celebration of Spanish sport and women’s sport.
‘My work as the women’s national coach and sports director of the women’s national team has always been aimed at achieving sporting success, but also at promoting initiatives that promote inclusion, respect and equity.
‘I reiterate my unwavering commitment to promoting a sport that is a model of equality and respect in our society.’
Vilda himself is not popular with the squad, many of whom saw him as a stooge of Rubiales.
Last year 15 players signed an email vowing not to play for their country while Vilda remained as coach.
In a stunning statement Vilda’s entire coaching staff resigned over the weekend, with the group saying they wished to show their ‘most emphatic condemnation’ of Rubiales’ conduct.
Hermoso, 33, said through the Spanish players’ union FUTPRO that she ‘felt vulnerable’ after Rubiales kissed her following Spain’s 1-0 victory over England on Sunday
The entire coaching staff of Spain women’s national team apart from head coach Jorge Vilda, pictured second left, resigned from their roles over the weekend
Rubiales also carried Spanish player Athenea del Castillo Beivide during the celebrations
Rubiales (right) pictured with Spain’s Queen Letizia and FIFA president Gianni Infantino after their 1-0 win over England during the Women’s World Cup final
Rubiales has refused to resign from his post while the RFEF announced an intention to take legal action over the comments made by Hermoso on Friday.
The situation took a further twist on Saturday morning as FIFA, which opened disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales on Thursday, announced in a statement the 46-year-old official was banned ‘from all football-related activities at national and international level’ for an initial period of 90 days.
Jorge Ivan Palacio, the chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee, has ordered Rubiales and the RFEF to refrain from contacting or trying to contact Hermoso, either directly or through intermediaries.
Hermoso accused the RFEF of a ‘manipulative, hostile and controlling culture’ as a total of 81 players signed a letter stating they will not accept national team call-ups while Rubiales remains in situ.
READ MORE HERE – Spanish FA chief Luis Rubiales insists he will ‘defend himself’ after being suspended by FIFA in Jenni Hermoso World Cup kiss row
Rubiales also grabbed his crotch in celebration despite being just metres away from Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter in the stadium VIP area.
Rubiales apologised for his behaviour in the VIP area but insisted in his speech on Friday he had been the target of a ‘social assassination’ and repeatedly and emphatically stated ‘I will not resign’, words that drew applause from the gathered delegates at an extraordinary general assembly of the RFEF.
Rubiales claimed the incident was ‘spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual’ but Hermoso, who previously suggested comments playing down the incident attributed to her by the federation were false, hit back with an attack on the organisation as a whole.
‘It is not up to me to evaluate communication and integrity practices, but I am sure that as the world champion national team we do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture,’ she said in a statement on Twitter on Friday.
‘I want to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this action against my will, without respecting me, at a historic moment for me and for women’s sport.’
Hermoso was quoted in a statement issued by Futpro, the players’ union representing her, as stating ‘in no case did I seek to raise (lift) the president’.
But the RFEF said on Saturday it has analysed four images of Hermoso and Rubiales embracing, claiming they show it was the former’s force that lifted him.
A statement said: ‘The RFEF announces the presentation of as many legal actions as may correspond in defence of the honourability of the president of the RFEF.
‘In the union’s note, it is said to speak on behalf of Jennifer Hermoso and some statements by the player are attributed to her that are in quotation marks, implying that they have been pronounced by her.
‘The RFEF wishes to inform public opinion that the competent bodies of the RFEF that are processing the complaints filed with the Federation have tried to contact Jennifer Hermoso, having been unsuccessful at all times.
‘The RFEF and Mr President will demonstrate each of the lies that are spread either by someone on behalf of the player or, if applicable, by the player herself.
‘The RFEF and the President, given the seriousness of the content of the press release from the Futpro Union, will initiate the corresponding legal actions.’
THE SPANISH FA’S ATTEMPT TO BLAME HERMOSO FOR ‘KISS-GATE’
The RFEF argue that Rubiales’ arms are only loosely on Hermoso’s back in this photo, meaning he could ‘exert no force’, and that his heels are raised
The above image shows Rubiales smiling as he embraces Hermoso, with one hand on top of her head and the other on her back.
In explanation, the RFEF states: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso, with her arms, grabs the RFEF President from behind, while Mr. President has his arms loose on the upper part of the player’s back. Therefore, no force could exert.
‘You can see how Mr. President has the heels of his feet raised slightly.’
Here, the RFEF maintains that Hermoso keeps her arms around the president and that his heels are raised. Only one of Hermoso’s arms and one of Rubiales’ feet are visible
In the second image, Rubiales’ upper arm has moved lower down Hermoso’s head.
The RFEF explains: ‘Ms. Jennifer Hermoso keeps her arms around Mr. President’s back. Mr. President keeps his arms on top of the player’s body.
‘It is verified how Mr. President already has much higher heels.’
Only one of Rubiales’ feet is visible in the photo.
The RFEF writes that ‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player’
This third image, with Rubiales lifted off the ground, is where the RFEF’s statement ramps up in vehemence and attributes responsibility to Hermoso.
The RFEF states: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must bring his arms closer to the player’s back as a result of having lifted him off the ground and to maintain balance.
‘The inclination of the back of Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso that occurs when she is performing an action of force is indisputable.
‘Mr. President’s feet are clearly and manifestly lifted off the ground as a result of the action of force carried out by the player.’
The RFEF maintains its stance in the final photo, where Rubiales is still lifted off the ground
For this final photo provided, the RFEF explains: ‘Mrs. Jennifer Hermoso continues to keep her arms in the same position as the president’s body while the president must continue to hold on to the players so as not to fall and it is evident that the arching of the player’s body corresponds to the lifting force of Mr. President you are performing.
‘The feet of Mr. President are ostensibly raised off the ground as a result of the player’s action.
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