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Spain Dumps Women’s Team Coach Jorge Vilda, At Long Last

Spain women's national team coach Jorge Vilda, posing with his World Cup medallion. He got fired today, the big dumbass.
Angel Perez Meca/Europa Press via Getty Images

It's sort of bleakly ironic that the Spanish soccer federation stuck by women's national team coach Jorge Vilda back when 15 of his own players were calling him out for running an amateurish and unacceptable operation, only to fire him after many of those same players lugged his sorry ass on their backs to World Cup glory. In any case that's what happened: The RFEF fired Vilda today, not less than a year and incalculable unnecessary strife later than it should have.

The terrible fear, coming into the World Cup, was that a great run by Spain's impossibly stacked team could end up as an act of unintentional self-sabotage, if it fortified the positions of Vilda and the various RFEF clowns who backed him as an avatar of the principle that women must never be allowed to have anything they want but will not beg for. Maybe nobody quite expected Luis Rubiales, the federation president who protected Vilda, to possess the humility to accept the gift he'd been given, of a golden opportunity to let glorious triumph obscure his organization's fluorescent dysfunction for a while. But you might have assumed that, in the absence of humility, he might at least possess a kind of reptilian rock-bottom executive-class guile in its stead, and it might come to the same thing: He'd hunker down, take the W, and let the World Cup results stand as quiet validation for each next decision the players didn't approve (like keeping and/or extending Vilda). That would have been a tragedy.

LOL!via Twitter

That fear (which I shared) turns out to have been misplaced, for all the very same reasons Spain's players wanted the program's leadership blown up in the first place: namely, that these men are toilet-grade bozos. Rubiales couldn't resist flexing; of course he couldn't. That's why he was pumping his crotch in the stands; that's why he made a big show of giving creepily intimate hugs to the players as they received their medals; that's for damn sure why he planted a nonconsensual kiss on Jenni Hermoso's mouth in front of the whole world. If he was the kind of guy who could restrain himself from the peacock routine, who did not need all world events to attest to his personal virility and power, he wouldn't have doubled down on a shit-ass bum like Vilda in the first place. What would have been the reason to, for anybody not following his own dick around like a divining rod?

And Vilda, a sub-replacement-grade stooge who got where he got by befriending and/or being related to the right people, couldn't resist brainlessly applauding during his patron's floridly psychotic speech to the RFEF at the emergency meeting to address the kiss and its fallout. Of course he couldn't. If he was the kind of guy who could muster integrity and self-respect in greater measure than his impulse to toady for powerful dickheads, he would have resigned with dignity the day the players' protest letter went public. He tried for damage control after Rubiales's open-ended suspension—after, that is to say, it became clear which way the wind was blowing—issuing a statement that called Rubiales's behavior "unacceptable," but even there he couldn't help himself, throwing in a line about Rubiales himself having recognized the error of his ways.

To be clear, I don't know whether the applauding is what doomed Vilda, or if he was cooked from the moment various powers-that-be recognized Rubiales had to go. Given the chaotic nature of the RFEF and the series of dogwater cocktails it has made out of each successive attempt at communicating its decision-making rationales to the public, I doubt we'll ever really find out. But the applause-and-weaksauce-statement two-step stands as perhaps the starkest and most universally legible testimony on behalf of the case against him: Here is a shit-for-brains loser who will never under any circumstances have the least iota of credibility with the Spain women's national team ever again. This time, when the team's players issued a letter saying so, every last one of them signed it, and then some.

What's next for the position? As of this writing Montse Tomé, previously one of Vilda's assistants, has been named as the first woman ever to take the top job; presumably she'll be given a chance to stick in the role, beginning with the international window two weeks from now. But that'll depend on the players, one way or another.

Virtually everything that has happened since the beginning of the World Cup has solidified the players as a bloc, increased their public standing, and diminished the RFEF. By Monday even the men's team players had belatedly pulled their heads out of their asses and collectively rebuked Rubiales; perhaps not the meatiest of support given Rubiales is already suspended and virtually guaranteed to lose his job, but nonetheless a useful index of, well, which way the wind is blowing. If the federation—especially acting president Pedro Rocha, who signed his name to a Tuesday statement of abject shame at Rubiales and the federation's conduct, but who himself bears the stink of having effectively been chosen by Rubiales—has been shocked into anything like sobriety by all of this, it will give the players maximum accommodation in the search for Vilda's replacement. Not only for its own sake, but for that coach's: As of right now Spain risks not being able to field a team for the Sept. 22 match against Sweden, or fielding a team of F-grade scabs and scrubs, if it can't bring the protestors back into the program. There could hardly be a wronger foot for a coach to start out on, at this precise moment, than with the players' perceiving that coach to be the choice of the RFEF.

As for Vilda, who knows. I'm sure he has an uncle or a powerful buddy somewhere with work that needs doing, even if it's just to stand there blank-eyed like a complete horse's ass and applaud without thinking. He's just the man for the job.

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