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Updated January 14th, 2024 at 00:51 IST

Spain forward Jenni Hermoso says former coach Jorge Vilda made players feel uncomfortable

After being kissed on the lips by former federation president Luis Rubiales during the Women's World Cup final, Jenni Hermoso spearheaded the fight against sexism in Spanish football as she claims that former team coach Jorge Vilda was fired as well because players felt he was invading their privacy

Jenni Hermoso
Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso, left, arrives at the Audiencia Nacional court in Madrid, | Image: AP
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Record scorer Jenni Hermoso, who has led the fight against sexism in Spanish soccer after she was kissed on the lips at the Women's World Cup final by former federation president Luis Rubiales, says the national team's former coach Jorge Vilda also had to go because players felt he routinely invaded their privacy.

Vilda coached Spain to the Women’s World Cup title in August last year after beating England 1-0 in the final, but he was fired just weeks later , amid mounting outrage at Rubiales' kiss of Hermoso without her consent during the awards ceremony.

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In a clip released Friday from her interview for the “Planeta Calleja” show on Spanish TV channel Cuatro, Hermoso said there was unease when players were gathered at hotels.

“When we were going to bed, we had to leave the door open and wait for (Vilda) to come by and speak to us,” Hermoso said. “He said it was because it was the only moment when he could speak personally with us.”

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She added that players were also bothered by Vilda’s habit of asking them what they had brought back with them when they returned from outings from the hotel.

The full interview will be broadcast on Monday.

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Shortly after being fired in September, Vilda said in an interview with Cadena SER radio that he had never behaved inappropriately and considered his firing unjust.

“I have always shown the maximum respect for my players and with everyone I have coached and worked with,” he said.

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Spain’s players had previously tried to force changes of what they considered unprofessional or inappropriate attitudes surrounding their team when, in September 2022, many of them refused to continue playing under Vilda. The Spanish soccer federation, then headed by Rubiales, backed Vilda and many players never returned to the team in time for the World Cup triumph.

Rubiales stepped down after folding to immense pressure. He is now being investigated by a Spanish court on accusations by Hermoso of sexual assault and for having attempted to coerce her into publicly supporting him after the kiss. He denies any wrongdoing. Vilda has also been questioned by the judge for allegedly pressuring Hermoso to back Rubiales.

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The 33-year-old Hermoso, who is the record scorer for Spain’s women’s team, has become somewhat of a celebrity in Spain after coming forward to denounce the kiss and help promote a “Me Too” movement in sports in the country.

Hermoso announced recently that she will play for Mexican club Tigres after her stint with rival Pachuca.

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Vilda has since signed to coach Morocco's women's team.

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Published January 13th, 2024 at 10:20 IST

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