Footage has emerged of Spanish head coach Jorge Vilda appearing to touch a female staff member inappropriately during the Women’s World Cup final between Spain and England.
Video footage taken seconds after Olga Carmona’s 29th-minute goal against the Lionesses footage shows the Spanish staff celebrating – and Vilda’s left hand seeming to linger on a female staff member’s breast.
Vilda has become a polarising figure among his team in recent years, with those divisions becoming very apparent at this year’s Women’s World Cup.
Fractures have emerged on the field with Vilda notably running on to the pitch to celebrate with his players following their quarter-final triumph against the Netherlands, but being ignored by his team.
He was also snubbed a handshake by Spanish star Alexia Putellas during their semi-final win against Sweden.
While he as achieved remarkable success since he was appointed as the head coach, leading the team to Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup glory and now winning the World Cup, divisions between himself and his players have only escalated throughout his time in charge.
After defeat by England in the Euro 2022 quarter-final, players set-up a video call with Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish Federation (RFEF) in August.
They had been unhappy with their preparation for the Euros and Vilda’s tactics during the tournament, and believed his training methods were inefficient and his in-game management non-existent.
Spain are said to have done little if any video preparation on England before facing them last summer.
There were also complaints around Vilda’s conduct.
It is alleged he created a controlling environment, with Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo reporting he forced players to keep the doors of their rooms open until midnight to check for himself that they were there before going to sleep.
Vilda was allegedly in charge of closing the door and making sure the lights were turned off. These practices were abandoned after the 2019 World Cup following complaints from players but there are still heavy restrictions on their freedoms while in camp.
Vilda’s control is said to be excessive to the point he will check their bags when they return from a shopping trip, while players also have to say who they are meeting if they want to leave camp, with all movement subject to strict surveillance.
In 2022, 15 players wrote to the Spanish FA claiming they would not be available for selection while Vilda remained in his position, asserting that he was ‘damaging their mental health’.
CNN has reached out seeking comment on the touching incident from Vilda, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and the woman in the footage.
Meanwhile, Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales has apologised for kissing player Jenni Hermoso following his country’s win over England in the World Cup final.
The football chief had faced a wave of criticism and resignation calls after planting the unsolicited kiss on Jenni’s lips following the match.
In a video address on Tuesday, after leading politicians said he should quit or apologise, Rubiales admitted he had made a mistake.
He started the video by saying the national team had achieved an ‘historic feat’ and it was one of the ‘happiest’ days for Spanish football.
But he added: ‘There is also something I regret and it’s over something that happened between a female player and myself who enjoy a magnificent relationship the same as I have with other women players.
‘I’ve no doubt made a mistake and I have to admit it.’
He continued: ‘At a moment of maximum excitement, without any bad intention or bad faith, what happened happened in a very spontaneous manner, I repeat without bad faith on either side.
‘We didn’t understand really what occurred afterwards because we saw it as something normal and natural but it has caused a controversy in some sectors and some people appear to have been upset and therefore I have to apologise.
‘Moreover I have to learn from this and understand that when someone presides an institution as important as the Spanish FA he has to take more care in events like ceremonies.’