Mourinho 'record' leads to stadium ban
Jose Mourinho was given his stadium ban because the English Football Association felt mere financial penalties and touchline bans were no longer enough to curb his conduct.
The governing body released its written reasons for the sanction last night and cited "aggressive" behaviour, the manager having to be escorted away from the Upton Park referee's room last month after twice refusing to leave and angrily describing the officials as "f*****g weak" among a catalogue of offences.
The authorities also took into account the Chelsea manager's "disappointing record of misconduct to date", noting four financial sanctions imposed since his return to Stamford Bridge in 2013. In short, his behaviour at half-time of the champions' 2-1 defeat at West Ham United has brought long-running controversy over his conduct to a head.
The FA's written reasons for the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission were released at 5pm last night, a few hours after Mourinho had complained that a stadium ban set a precedent for more such punishments, because it was for "words" used rather than "something really, really serious in terms of aggression".
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The document published referee Jon Moss's report on the fixture, however, in which it was revealed the Chelsea manager had indeed been invited to the officials' dressing room after waiting for them there, only to then "become aggressive" with a remarkable rant that also referenced Arsène Wenger's comment about "weak and naive refereeing".
Moss wrote: "I gave him brief answers to his questions. After this I asked him to leave the dressing room area. He refused. I asked him again. After he refused again I asked Mr Sutton to escort him from the room. At this point Mr Mourinho became very aggressive and animated. He shouted that you f*****g referees are weak . . . [Arsène] Wenger is right about you . . . you are f*****g weak. I advised Mr Mourinho not to take his position in the technical area for the second half due to his actions."
Mourinho's quick admission of the misconduct charge did earn him credit but it was felt that, because he showed a "total lack of respect for the Match Officials and the sanctuary of the dressing room", a touchline ban would not be sufficient since it would still allow him to be "around the dressing room areas during match day".
The Portuguese earlier admitted his stadium ban makes Chelsea's trip to Stoke City the most difficult match he's ever had to prepare for, and it certainly provides a very different type of challenge in an already testing season.
How Mourinho navigates the day almost offers as much intrigue as how he has got through this difficult spell, as he has given his staff detailed match instructions in order to try to avoid a seventh defeat in 12 league games, and claim what would just be a fourth win.
The Chelsea manager said he will travel with the team on the coach to the Britannia Stadium until someone stops him, although some have suggested that very comment could be a decoy to prevent the inevitable media furore.
It is understood Mourinho will be under threat of a further ban if he attempts to even go to the stadium car park, and that he has been made aware of how far he can go.
The 52-year-old did dismiss notions he would replicate his actions from a similar sanction in the 2004-05 Champions League, saying there was "no temptation" to hide in a laundry basket in order to get to his team. None of this was delivered with any humour, as the Portuguese remains hugely irritated with the stadium ban, having decided it was not worth an appeal.
When asked whether that made it his hardest ever preparation, he said "of course", and again expressed incredulity at the nature of the punishment.
"It's a stadium ban," he said. "I had a Uefa Cup semi-final second-leg bench ban [in 2002-03 with Porto], but I could work. This is stopping me working."
That is not quite true since - unlike the Uefa ban - there is nothing stopping him communicating with his bench, but it did mean his pre-match work started even earlier. Mourinho corralled his staff together the day after the 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday. He said the staff would be "in trouble" for deviating from decisions they have made, but that he didn't expect that since Steve Holland and Rui Faria are so in-tune with him.
As for where Mourinho will watch the game, it has been suggested that he will go to Chelsea's hotel in Stoke. Mourinho - albeit with sarcasm - said there is little point in tuning in. "I have no plans," he said. "Maybe I sit in the street corner with my iPad. I don't know. "Maybe I watch a movie." (© Independent News Service)