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Spain’s head coach given the boot in ‘kiss-gate’ fallout

Spain’s World Cup-winning head coach Jorge Vilda has been given the boot as the fallout continues from the so-called kiss-gate scandal.

No explanation was given for Vilda’s departure on Wednesday (AEST).

It came 10 days after Spain’s soccer federation president Luis Rubiales kissed team player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth.

The furore involving Rubiales has quickly spiralled into a national debate over women’s rights and sexist behaviour.

Vilda, considered a close ally of Rubiales, had been under fire since last year when 15 players staged a mutiny calling for his resignation.

The players complained of inadequate coaching methods and called for conditions to match those of the men’s squad.

Most of the players involved were cut from the squad even as some demands were met.

Sports presenter Danae Boronat, who wrote ‘Don’t Call Them Girls, Call Them Footballers’, said players accused Vilda of micromanaging, such as instructing senior players what to say in interviews.

Vilda’s contract has been terminated by the new board formed after Rubiales’ non-consensual kiss during the World Cup victory celebration.

The board released a statement that gave no reason for Vilda’s dismissal and did not mention Hermoso, Rubiales or the scandal.

The statement thanked 42-year-old Vilda for his “extraordinary sporting legacy”.

“The coach has been key to the remarkable growth of women’s football and leaves Spain as world champions and second in the FIFA rankings,” the RFEF statement said.

Vilda will be replaced by his assistant, Montse Tome, who becomes the first woman to helm the women’s national team.

Vilda and Luis de la Fuente, the men’s national team manager, applauded Rubiales when he refused to resign on August 25 but later issued statements condemning his behaviour.

Rubiales had praised Vilda for the World Cup triumph and offered him a new four-year contract.

Spain’s top 58 woman players said they would not play for the national team under the existing leadership.

In a separate statement by interim President Pedro Rocha, the new board apologised for Rubiales’ “inappropriate conduct”.

“The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and the values of football and sport as a whole have been enormous,” the three-page statement signed by Rocha said.

Topics: Spain
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