By Our Sports Desk
Sarina Wiegman received the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award in Monaco on Thursday, and dedicated the award to the Spanish side who won the 2023 Women’s World Cup earlier this year. The side have been dogged by controversy after Luis Rubiales kissed Jenni Hermoso with the player explaining afterwards she had not given her consent to Rubiales.
England women’s manager Sarina Wiegman paid tribute to the Spanish women’s side and said the team “deserves to be celebrated and to be listened to.”
Wiegman made the speech in Monaco after receiving the UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year award, after she took her side to the 2023 World Cup final against Spain.
They lost that match 1-0, and amid the celebrations the head of the Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, kissed Jenni Hermoso, with the player explaining afterwards she had not consented to it.
Taking to the stage in Monaco at the draw for the UEFA Champions League, Wiegman thanked those who had voted for and worked with her.
She began: “First of all, thanks everyone for voting, especially colleagues. It’s really special. I’m very honoured. Thanks to everyone involved with The Lionesses, including the players. An incredible team, staff, and support from the FA.”
The Dutch coach then addressed the controversy, saying: “But it also feels a little different. We all know the issues around the Spanish team, and it really hurts me as a coach, as the mother of two daughters, as a wife and as a human being, and it showed there’s still a long way to go in women’s football and in society.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the Spanish team, the team who played at the World Cup such great football that everyone enjoyed.
“This team deserves to be celebrated and to be listened to, and I’m going to give them again a big round of applause, and I hope you will join me.”
UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, Spain international Aitana Bonmati, addressed the issue as well, saying: “As a society we should not allow abuse of power in an employment relationship or disrespect, so from my colleague Jenni Hermoso to all those who suffer the same, we are with you and we are working so that society improves.”
Erling Haaland was recognised as the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year in the same ceremony, and he was asked whether he was more scared of his Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, or his father, Alfie Inge Haaland.
He admitted he was a little frightened of both, on occasions, but said he appreciated their input.
He explained: “Good question, sometimes Pep is a bit scary, I have to say. But again my father can be a bit scary, but anyways, this is something I like.
“I like when Pep shouts something at me, because he tries to get something in my brain that he doesn’t think I have, so I like it. I’m not complaining at all, he just wants to make me a better footballer, so I’m not complaining at all.
“My father and I argue a lot, but we have a lot of good moments together, so I’m not complaining there either.”