Spain’s historic victory in the Women’s World Cup was marked by signs of an ongoing protest against the Royal Spanish Football Federation and head coach Jorge Vilda. While the players initially celebrated on their own, the coaching staff stood apart, and Vilda appeared unwelcome in larger festive gatherings. Eventually, some players acknowledged the head coach, but not all of them.
The protest against Vilda and the federation has been ongoing for nearly a year. In September 2022, 15 players sent identical emails stating their grievances and asking not to be called up until certain changes were made. Their complaints included insufficient preparation, limited staff, and coaches who restricted their freedom during camps. Discussions were held to improve conditions, leading to the inclusion of three players in the World Cup squad.
Despite the complaints, the federation continues to support Vilda. President Luis Rubiales defended the coach, stating that he has “forgotten the people who wanted to destroy him.” The official account for Spain’s women’s national team also showed support for Vilda by sharing a photo of him kissing the World Cup trophy.
However, seven out of the 15 players continue to protest, including Mapi Leon. Leon expressed her dissatisfaction with the current situation and the need for changes. The protests were addressed during the post-match press conference, but players seemed uninterested in discussing the topic.
While some players, like midfielder Teresa Abelleira and goalscorer Olga Carmona, chose not to engage with the protest publicly, others expressed their vote of confidence in the federation. Carmona praised the Spanish Football Federation for providing the conditions necessary for success.
As for Vilda, when asked about resigning, he took a diplomatic approach, stating that they would celebrate the World Cup and then decide on the future.