It’s an explosive allegation: Thibaut Courtois’ father leaked Belgium’s lineups to the media during Euro 2016. The man making the accusation against Thierry Courtois is former national team coach Marc Wilmots. He said it during an extensive interview with beIN Sports. He claims that within fifteen minutes of telling his group who was playing, it was all over the media.
“I just have a problem when I make my lineup at 18h and at 18h15 it is on all networks. It means that a player has sold the selection. And that’s serious.
It came back to me from several French journalists that Papa Courtois was doing it. It means that you do not respect your homeland. All I saw is that at 18:15 it got out. It was just them (the players), the staff, (yet) it got out.”
That was Monday. On Tuesday morning it was in the newspapers, including L’Equipe. By Tuesday evening, Thibaut Courtois announced on Twitter and Instagram — in four languages! — that he and his father will sue Wilmots for libel and defamation.
Naar aanleiding van de uitspraken van de heer M. Wilmots hebben mijn vader en ik samen beslist een strafklacht in te dienen. Zie tekst voor meer info. pic.twitter.com/c0d7SMcuBe— Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) April 24, 2018
The tweet reads:
“Following the statements made by Mr Wilmots, my father and I have decided to bring a criminal complaint together.”
Here’s a verbatim of the translation contained within that tweet:
“In the interview granted by beIN Sports and recovered today by La Dernière Heure, Les Sports, Mr. Marc WILMOTS affirms in particular that “That means that a player has sold the selection. And this is serious. French journalists had the proof that it was Courtois father who was doing this.”
“MR. M. WILMOTS — not for the first time — reiterates publicly and intentionally accusations against my honor and my reputation as well as my father and we decided together to file a complaint accompanied by criminal indemnification proceeding for Libel and Defamation.”
Apart from the announced lawsuit, Thierry Courtois, who does have reputation for meddling in his son’s affairs, also defended himself on Belgian news outlet DH.
“I have never in my life given a lineup to any reporter. Having been a player at a high level and also been part of the technical staff of a European-level club, I know how delicate the issue is. My fellow trainers and players knew it too. It takes a lot of work to get results, I hate leaks.”
Wilmots led Belgium to a disappointing 2014 World Cup as well as a famously poor Euro 2016, where they were upset in the quarterfinals by Wales, 3-1. In the immediate aftermath Thibaut Courtois publicly questioned Wilmots’ tactics. Two weeks later Belgium sacked Wilmots (eventually replacing him with Roberto Martinez).
Not being lawyers in the European Union, we have no idea how this whole thing is going to end. But it’s ugly and unnecessary. Can Wilmots even prove any of this?
So the Courtois camp is going to file a complaint against Marc Wilmots after the (false) accusations that dad Thierry Courtois would have leaked the team to the press during the Euros. Wonder if the former Belgium manager can proof his claims. Libel case. #cfc pic.twitter.com/CI2egWWsDi— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) April 24, 2018