Study finds Chelsea are Premier League's worst behaved team
Chelsea are the Premier League's worst behaved team for respecting referees, according to figures compiled by the Football Association's Fair Play delegates.
Jose Mourinho's league leaders have been widely criticised for surrounding match officials this season, and statistics released this week show Chelsea to be the biggest offenders.
Though Mourinho has frequently insisted there is a "campaign" against his team by the authorities and media, Chelsea have been exposed as showing the least respect towards match officials, while Liverpool have the best record.
Chelsea are also second worst when it comes to the behaviour of club staff on the touchline.
The data has been compiled by FA Fair Play delegates who attend every Premier League match and when assessing behaviour towards the referee and his assistants, teams are marked out of seven.
Guidelines published on the Premier League website state: "A positive attitude, including the acceptance of doubtful decisions without protest, will be rewarded with high marks. Normal behaviour without any particular positive attitudes or gestures towards match officials is likely to receive a score of six rather than seven."
The picture is not much prettier when it comes to the behaviour of club staff - including the manager - on the touchline. Mourinho's assistant Rui Faria has been a controversial figure this season, appearing to celebrate Chelsea's winner in front of Queens Park Rangers manager Chris Ramsey on Sunday.
The official guidelines state: "Positive and negative aspects of the team officials' conduct will be assessed - such as whether they calm down or provoke angry players or fans and how they accept the decisions of the referee. Cooperation with the media will also be taken into account."
In terms of overall fair play this season, West Ham emerge as the Premier League's cleanest side - something which might come as a surprise to Sam Allardyce's band of critics at Upton Park and beyond.
Chelsea declined to comment on the statistics, though Mourinho may address the issue when he holds his press conference at Cobham today.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's Brazil international Oscar has insisted he is happy to stay at Stamford Bridge amid suggestions he will be offloaded by Mourinho.
Oscar, a £25m signing from Internacional in 2012, is among the most substituted players in the league this season - he has not played a full 90 minutes since January. The 23-year-old could be a casualty at the end of the campaign but he has pledged to fight for his place.
"I'm very happy here. I get along with everyone, and the club shows its praise towards me. Chelsea is one of the best clubs in the world, so I don't see why I would think of leaving," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)