Former football federation executive Luis Rubiales filed a lawsuit against coach Javier Clemente, who called Rubiales a “dangerous and ambitious guy” looking to “get rich,” but the Spanish court dismissed the case on the grounds of free speech.
In its ruling, seen by reporters on Monday and dated Sept. 1, the Madrid court stated that “we are dealing with a pure exercise of the right to freely express an opinion about a person who, moreover, is a public figure,” amid an unrelated scandal involving Rubiales’ behaviour at the Women’s World Cup last month.
The decision can be challenged.
Luis declined to comment, while Clemente, who coached Spain’s men’s national team in the 1990s, was unavailable for comment.
Luis filed a lawsuit against Clemente in 2022 after the outspoken coach stated in an interview that Rubiales’ “goal was to make a fortune” as RFEF president.
Rubiales grabbed athlete Jenni Hermoso’s head and kissed her on the lips during the medal presentation following Spain’s World Cup triumph in Sydney on August 20, sparking outrage in Spanish sport and society.
After weeks of ignoring pleas from players, legislators, and women’s groups, he ultimately resigned as president of the RFEF and vice president of UEFA on September 10, shortly after Hermoso filed a criminal complaint against him for alleged sexual assault.
Clemente, a former player, guided Athletic Bilbao to La Liga wins before taking over as manager of Spain for six years, leading them to World Cup victories in 1994 and 1998. He also coached the national teams of Serbia, Cameroon, and Libya.