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Spanish Court Rejects Luis Rubiales’ Defamation Lawsuit Against Javier Clemente

Spanish Court Rejects Luis Rubiales’ Defamation Lawsuit Against Javier Clemente

A Spanish court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by the former soccer federation chief, Luis Rubiales, against coach Javier Clemente. Clemente had referred to Rubiales as a “dangerous and ambitious guy” with intentions “to get rich,” characterizing these remarks as an exercise of free speech.

In a ruling dated September 1, which Reuters obtained on Monday, the Madrid court asserted that this was a clear case of expressing an opinion about a public figure, and it fell within the right to free speech. The ruling remains subject to appeal.

Rubiales refrained from commenting on the court’s decision, while Clemente, who served as the Spain national men’s team coach during the 1990s, was not available for comment.

The lawsuit had originated in 2022 when Rubiales took legal action against Clemente following an interview in which the outspoken coach claimed Rubiales’ primary aim was to amass wealth while leading the RFEF.

The controversy surrounding Rubiales escalated when, during the medal ceremony after Spain’s World Cup victory in Sydney on August 20, he kissed player Jenni Hermoso on the lips, sparking a widespread debate about sexism in Spanish sports and society.

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Despite enduring weeks of calls from players, politicians, and women’s groups to step down from his roles, Rubiales eventually resigned on September 10 as the president of the RFEF and also from his position as vice president of UEFA. This decision followed a criminal complaint filed against him by Hermoso for alleged sexual assault.

Javier Clemente, a former player himself, had an illustrious career that included leading Athletic Bilbao to La Liga titles and managing Spain at the 1994 and 1998 World Cups. He also coached the national teams of Serbia, Cameroon, and Libya during his coaching tenure.

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