BarcelonaJorge Vilda (Madrid, 1981) was walking the night of June 2 through the streets of the central and lively Binnenstad district of Eindhoven with some members of his coaching staff and with the feeling that he was winning the game. The following day, Barça would contest and win the Champions League final against Wolfsburg and 11 of the Blaugrana players – three belonging to the 15 – had agreed to be available to enter the preliminary list for the World Cup that would be given the following week. He even allowed himself the luxury of discarding two: Sandra Paños and Jana Fernández. His mind, not in his wildest dreams, would have imagined then that three months and two days later he would have won the World Cup and been sacked. Before this dismissal, 11 members of the coaching staff who accompanied him through the streets of the Dutch city would resign because of Luis Rubiales’ non-consensual kiss to Jennifer Hermoso and his refusal to resign.
The support that many gave publicly – through applause and gestures of complicity – to Rubiales during the extraordinary extraordinary assembly of just over a week ago is starting to take its toll. The adventure of Jorge Vilda at the head of the Spanish women’s national team has ended because the interim president of the RFEF, Pedro Rocha, has decided so, despite the fact that his position was more than doomed since the 23 world champions – and dozens of Spanish footballers more – refused a few hours after the assembly to play again for the Spanish national team until the current leaders leave. And, this message was clearly not only aimed at Rubiales. The scope of “#seacabó” is much wider.
Thus, Vilda, who still had a year left on his contract and who survived together with Rubiales in the 15 o’clock revolt just under a year ago, has seen how the sporting, social and political movement that has almost unanimously condemned the attitudes of the president of the RFEF – temporarily suspended by FIFA – during the World Cup final and the days after and the support of many of the individuals belonging to his praetorian guard, among whom was Vilda himself -Misa Rodríguez, goalkeeper of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team, publicly denounced “every applause that was heard in that room”-. Not even being the coach of a world champion team has saved her from the inevitable.
Vilda’s other statement, which he published prematurely on August 26, has been of no use to Vilda: “I deeply regret that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been damaged by the inappropriate behavior of our until now top leader Luis Rubiales has carried out and that he himself has recognized”. In addition to the resignation of 11 members of Vilda’s coaching staff, the rest of the members had their contracts terminated on August 31. This, added to the decision of the World Cup players and many teammates not to return to the national team until the leaders left, left a very complicated situation that had to be resolved urgently because on September 22 Spain has to play the first Nations League match against Sweden.
The pay rise fades
During Rubiales’ speech at the extraordinary assembly, he dropped a piece of news that stunned almost everyone who was following the event: he would start moving the strings to renew Vilda with a salary of 500,000 euros per year – the current salary minimum of professional players in Spain is 16,000 a year. On the other hand, Rubiales justified Vilda’s speaking in masculine language – “we are world champions” – during the title celebration and explained that the gesture of touching the crotch in the box office of the stadium in the final of the Mundial alongside the authorities, including Queen Letícia, was celebratory and aimed at Vilda. “We suffered a lot. They tried to do something similar to you,” said Rubiales to the then-still coach.
Lola Gallardo, the Atlético de Madrid goalkeeper and one of the 15 players who initially gave up going with the Spanish team, spoke about this gesture. “I think that Rubiales was euphoric for something else, not because the women’s team won the World Cup. It was because it had been a very difficult year, he considers that the 15 of us brats and some blackmailers and he has them very big and he has won. He and Jorge Vilda,” Gallardo said in the program The last night from Telecinco.
Lack of sports improvements
Beyond the sexist side of Rubiales and Vilda -and other members of the RFEF-, the revolt of the 15 players also started due to the ignored request by the RFEF to professionalize the Spanish women’s national team with the aim to have better conditions so that the best generation of Spanish footballers in history could fight for major titles after suffering a new disappointment at the Eurocopa in the summer of 2022. Alexia Putellas, Irene Paredes – despite the fact that they both then they did not send the mail renouncing the selection -, Aitana Bonmatí, Mapi León, Ona Batlle, Patri Guijarro, Mariona Caldentey, Laia Aleixandri and Andrea Pereira, among others, were clear that in those semi-amateur conditions it was impossible to aspire to much .
Vilda took the position in 2015 replacing Ignacio Quereda, who several Spanish players have publicly denounced for abuse. Previously, he had been the women’s under-17 and under-19 coach. The first major competition he managed with the absolute was Euro 2017, in which Spain fell in the quarter-finals to Austria. Then came the 2019 World Cup, which for the Spanish national team ended in the round of 16, a round in which they lost to the United States, and the 2022 European Championship. Host England ended Spain’s aspirations in the quarter finals
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