Court overturns Aragones fine over Henry remarks
MADRID, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Spain coach Luis Aragones has been cleared of racist conduct by a Spanish court after his derogatory remarks about France striker Thierry Henry in October 2004.
'The court found that the Spanish Committee for Sporting Discipline (CEDD) had incorrectly evaluated the evidence,' the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said in a statement.
'We now hope that all measures will be taken to clear the good name of the national coach and the RFEF disciplinary committees.'
Aragones caused controversy in October 2004 when he was heard in a training session telling striker Jose Antonio Reyes that he was better than 'that black shit', referring to the Spaniard's Arsenal team mate Henry.
The 68-year-old Aragones was originally fined 3,000 euros for behaviour 'contrary to the good order of the sport' by the RFEF.
The offence was upgraded to 'conduct which could be considered to be racist' by the government-run CEDD and both Aragones and the RFEF successfully appealed against that decision to the Spanish court.
The RFEF were unable to say, however, whether Aragones would still have to pay the fine for the original charge.
'My lawyer told me this morning,' Aragones told Cadena Ser radio late on Tuesday. 'I went to court because it was a stain on my reputation and because the offence did not exist as some judges believed.'
Aragones initially apologised after widespread criticism of his behaviour, saying he had not meant to offend anyone and that his conscience was clear.
He stirred further controversy, however, by mounting an energetic defence of his comments before a friendly against England in November 2004.
That match in Madrid was marred by racist abuse of England's black players by sections of the crowd.
Spain play England in a friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday.