Jorge Villeda: Spain’s women’s national football team appoints its first female coach after the dismissal of his predecessor amid the repercussions of an unwanted kiss at the World Cup

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Jorge Villeda was appointed coach of the Spanish women’s national team in 2015.



CNN

Spanish women soccer The team has appointed its first ever female coach after her predecessor was sacked on the same day amid ongoing fallout over an unwanted kiss given to a player by football president Luis Rubiales in the Women’s World Cup final.

Only hours later Jorge Velda After his dismissal as coach of the team, the Spanish Football Federation announced that he would be replaced by his deputy, Montse Tomé.

Toomey will be the first woman to take charge of the women’s national team, and her first match will be on September 22 against Sweden.

These moves come as part of a major change in Spanish football since Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation, forcibly kissed striker Jennifer Hermoso on August 20.

Rubiales apologized for his actions and described the kiss as “mutual,” which Hermoso denied, saying it was disrespectful. He has been suspended for 90 days by FIFA, while disciplinary proceedings are ongoing.

In a statement announcing Villeda’s dismissal, the Spanish Federation said Villeda “was key to the remarkable growth of women’s football and leaves Spain world champions and second in the FIFA rankings.”

The federation described the move as “one of the first restructuring measures announced by (interim) President Pedro Rocha.”

Velda has been coaching the women’s national team since 2015. “The Spanish Football Federation appreciates his work at the helm of the national team and his responsibilities as the highest sporting figure in the women’s national teams, as well as the successes he achieved during his tenure, which culminated in the title.” The statement added that this is the latest achievement of the World Cup.

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She also praised Velda’s “impeccable personal and sporting conduct” as “a key part of the remarkable growth of women’s football in Spain”, describing him as “a promoter of the values ​​of respect and sportsmanship in football”.

Velda, who previously coached Spain’s U-17 and U-19 women’s national teams, led the team La Roja She won her first Women’s World Cup title last month with a 1-0 win over England in the final.

However, the success on the pitch belies the tense atmosphere in the team and the long-standing animosity between some of the country’s best players, Velda’s coaching staff and the Spanish Football Federation.

Following the team’s victories over the Netherlands and Sweden in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the World Cup, videos spread on social media of what appeared to be cold reactions from some of Spain’s substituted players towards Villeda and his staff, as well as during the post-match period. parties.

One of the clips showed Felda trying to celebrate with a few players after the victory over the Netherlands, but it seemed that he was ignored.

Player dissatisfaction goes back as far as September last year, when 15 members of the women’s first team sent personally signed letters to the Spanish Football Federation via email declaring that they would no longer play for the national team unless sweeping changes were made across the board. Training staff.

The Spanish men’s national team condemns Luis Rubiales’ behavior before international matches

The identical letters said the “situation” within the Spanish national team – of which the Spanish Football Federation was “aware” – was affecting the players’ “emotional state” and their health.

“As a result, I do not currently consider myself in a position to be selected for the national team and I request that I not be called up until the situation is resolved,” the letter read.

Of the 15 players who signed the letters, only three were in Spain’s World Cup squad: Mariona Caldente, Aitana Bonmati and Una Battle.

CNN previously contacted the Spanish Football Federation and Vilda for comment on the letter but did not receive a response. After its release, Velda described the situation as a “global embarrassment” and said that the solution was to build a team “only with players who are 100% committed to the project.”

The controversy surrounding Velda intensified after the World Cup final, as footage from the match showed him inappropriately touching a female employee while celebrating Spain’s goal against England. Vilda did not respond to questions about the incident when contacted by CNN via RFEF.

When Rubiales, speaking at the federation’s extraordinary general assembly last month, refused to resign from his position, he also offered his support for Velda and said he had begun the process of offering the coach a new four-year contract for around $542,000 (500,000 euros). ) year.

Maddy Meyer/FIFA/Getty Images

Velda (left) stands alongside Rubiales during the Women’s World Cup final.

“On another level, much younger (than my situation), but they wanted to do to you what they are doing to me now,” Rubiales said at the time.

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“A false narrative to try to turn into reality. We suffered a lot, went through a lot, and swallowed a lot, but we were together: you, me and your team.

Velda, like many in the room, was seen applauding Rubiales throughout the chamber. But the next day he issued a statement condemning the actions of the embattled football president.

“I am deeply sorry that the victory of Spanish women’s football has been damaged by the inappropriate behavior carried out thus far by our commander-in-chief, Luis Rubiales, which he himself admitted,” Villeda said in the widely circulated statement. According to Spanish media.

Before Spain’s success in the Women’s World Cup, Velda led the team to the knockout stages of the 2019 tournament and to the quarter-finals respectively in the European Championship in 2017 and 2022.

As coach of the country’s women’s youth teams, he twice won the European Under-17 Championship and also the European Under-19 Championship.

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