The Royal Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) has opened an official investigation regarding the alleged homophobic insults during and after the game Terrassa – Sabadell played on Saturday.
The case attracted wide publicity in the Spanish media.
Terrassa player Victor Gutierrez, a former member of the Spanish national team posted on social networks that he had been the victim of homophobic insults by Serbian center-forward Nemanja Ubovic during and after the game played on Saturday. Victor Gutierrez, who declared his homosexuality publicly in 2016, said that Ubovic had called him a “maricon” (the derogatory Spanish word for homosexuals) twice. He also alleges that referees didn’t record the homophobic behavior despite his pleas.
” After hours and after not having received an apology from the player, I have decided not to protect the person who insulted me yesterday. The player is Serbian-born Nemanja Ubovic, who plays for the rival team Sabadell.”, Gutierrez posted on Twitter on Sunday.
According to the first news, Sabadell temporarily suspended Ubovic. That was published by many Spanish and international media, although the club didn’t mention a suspension in its statement. The club issued a statement in which it said:
“Ubovic will not participate in training sessions and games until the information file opened on April 18 is resolved. In the processing of the case contradictory versions have been revealed that are being studied”.
But, Sabadell, also, shows support for Ubovic:
“We regret and condemn the insults and threats that our player and his family are receiving on social networks.”
Finally, the club reiterates that Sabadell “strongest condemns any homophobic, xenophobic and racist action”.
It’s true that Ubovic is out of the team, but he clarified the situation regarding the absence from the team.
“I am out of the team, but I am not suspended. I decided not to train with the team to protect the club and myself because I started receiving threats. Until the investigation is over, I will not train with Sabadell. It’s my decision in the agreement with the club”, Ubovic told Total Waterpolo, and added that he would say more on this case after the end of the investigation.
The Spanish Swimming Federation (RFEN) announced that it had “opened an investigation after the alleged homophobic insults publicly denounced by a player of the Spanish League”.
“Therefore, the RFEN Competition Committee initiates ex officio (in the absence of prior complaints) a disciplinary procedure in accordance with the RFEN Disciplinary Rules, initiating the corresponding disciplinary procedure because it is an alleged infraction.”, RFEN said in the statement.
Terrassa and Sabadell, as the clubs involved, have five days from the day after receiving the letter from the RFEN, to exercise their right to make allegations or use the means of defense admitted by the legal system are appropriate. The referees and the delegate of the game will also be requested to prepare the reports on whether they witnessed the events publicly denounced.
UPDATED 17:00 CET