In a wild week for women’s soccer in Spain, World Cup winners Olga Carmona and Aitana Bonmatí were nominated Friday for the UEFA best player award and Jorge Vilda was shortlisted for women’s coach of the year.
Carmona scored in Spain’s title-winning 1-0 victory over England on Sunday in Australia unaware her father had died ahead of the game. Her family, which traveled to Sydney for the final, decided to protect her from the news.
Bonmatí also was named player of the tournament by FIFA having returned to the team after being part of a 15-player rebellion last year against Vilda’s coaching style.
The Spain coach stayed to oversee a first Women’s World Cup title for the nation because he was backed by the Spanish soccer federation. On the same day that UEFA announced the shortlists, the Spanish federation had an emergency meeting where its president Luis Rubiales refused to resign — one day after FIFA opened a disciplinary case into his conduct at the final.
Rubiales, who is also a UEFA vice president, kissed star player Jenni Hermoso without her consent during the World Cup final’s on-field medal and trophy presentation. She later said she did not like it and the player union representing Hermoso has said Rubiales’ conduct should not go unpunished.
Shortly before the kiss, Rubiales grabbed his crotch in a victory gesture. Queen Letizia of Spain and 16-year old Princess Sofía were standing nearby.
Vilda has also been under scrutiny since the final because footage emerged showing him touching the chest area of a female assistant while celebrating Carmona’s goal.
Rubiales said Friday in a defiant speech to federation delegates that he wanted to give Vilda a four-year contract paying a half-million euros ($540,000) per year.
Also nominated for the coaching award was Jonatan Giráldez, who led a Barcelona team including Bonmatí to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League. England coach Sarina Wiegman was the only woman nominated in this category.
The shortlists followed a UEFA-organized vote by coaches of European women’s national teams and clubs which played in the Women’s Champions League, plus selected media.
Sam Kerr, the Chelsea and Australia forward, completed the player of the year shortlist.
Winners are announced next Thursday in Monaco at the draw ceremony for the men’s Champions League group stage.
UEFA has refused to comment this week on the international furor about Rubiales.
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