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Spain Women's Soccer Coach Fired Amid the Official-Player Kiss Controversy

Spain women's soccer coach Jorge Vilda was fired Tuesday (September 5) amid the fallout from federation president Luis Rubiales kissing player Jenni Hermoso on the mouth during the post-match medal celebration of the 2023 World Cup last month.

The incident took place after Spain defeated England, 1-0, on August 20, to win its first women's World Cup trophy. Hermoso said the kiss "left her in a state of shock" and acknowledged that "no person in any workplace should be the victim of this type of nonconsensual behavior," via the New York Daily News.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation, which previously issued a sweeping apology for the kiss, didn't include any mention of Rubiales or the incident in its announcement of Vilda's termination on Tuesday.

Rubiales refused to step down from his position as president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, which led to FIFA, soccer's global governing body, suspending him 90 days.

Vilda initially voiced his support of Rubiales amid calls for him to be replaced but eventually became more critical of the incident, claiming it tarnished "a well-deserved victory for our players and our country." The Royal Spanish Federation also acknowledged the "damage caused" by the kiss to "Spanish society" in a lengthy statement shared online.

"Those actions do not reflect at all the values of the whole Spanish society, its institutions, its representatives, its athletes and the leaders of Spanish sport," the federation said. "Spanish society is an example of tolerance and civility, in all social and political spheres and has been an example of behavior and sporting decorum, as it has demonstrated for decades in all sporting events in which it has participated."

"That nobility and international prestige of our society and our sport have been tarnished in recent days by the actions of Mr. Luis Rubiales," the federation added. "The damage caused to Spanish football, to Spanish sport, to Spanish society and to the values of football and sport as a whole has been enormous."

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