England coach Sarina Wiegman said the crisis surrounding Spanish football in the wake of their World Cup win “really hurts” and shows there is still a “long way to go” in the women’s game and society.
Spanish football federation president Luis Rubiales has been provisionally suspended by FIFA for an initial period of 90 days, pending an investigation into his behaviour at the World Cup final earlier this month when he kissed Spain midfielder Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the trophy and medals presentation.
Hermoso has said she did not consent to the kiss, and along with her 22 squad mates, has said she will not play for the national team until Rubiales resigns.
🥇 SARINA WIEGMAN is the 2022/23 UEFA Women's Coach of the Year!
The England coach reached a fourth successive major final at the World Cup and is an inspiration for coaches everywhere.
— UEFA (@UEFA) August 31, 2023
Wiegman saw off competition from Spain’s under-fire head coach Jorge Vilda to win UEFA’s Women’s Coach of the Year award and dedicated her prize to Spain’s players.
“We all know the issues around the Spanish team and it really hurts me as a coach, as mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a human being,” Wiegman said at the awards ceremony in Monaco.
“The game has grown so much, but there’s also still a long way to go in women’s football and in society.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team. This team deserves to be celebrated and deserves to be listened to, and I’m going to give them again a big applause and I hope you will join (me).”
𝐀𝐈𝐓𝐀𝐍𝐀, 𝐌𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐎𝐑 𝐉𝐔𝐆𝐀𝐃𝐎𝐑𝐀 𝐃'𝐄𝐔𝐑𝐎𝐏𝐀 🏆 pic.twitter.com/S9FPYj9YW6
— FC Barcelona Femení (@FCBfemeni) August 31, 2023
Another of Spain’s World Cup winners, Barcelona star Aitana Bonmati, was named UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.
She used her acceptance speech to show solidarity with Hermoso, saying: “As a society we should not allow abuse of power in an employment relationship or disrespect. To all the women who suffer the same as Jennifer, we are with you.”
“Spanish football is going through bad moments right now,” Bonmati added.
“We won the World Cup, but we’re not talking a lot about that because of some things I would rather not ignore.”