Monday 11 December 2017

Mourinho joins four Real players in UEFA dock

Rory Smith

JOSE MOURINHO and four of his Real Madrid players were last night charged with improper conduct by UEFA in an unprecedented action by the game's European governing body.

Along with Mourinho, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, captain Iker Casillas and reserve goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek could all face fines and/or suspensions for their involvement in the controversial dismissals of Alonso and Ramos in the dying stages of the Real's 4-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam on Tuesday night.

The case is being dealt with by UEFA's control and disciplinary panel. Under article 5.1 of UEFA's regulations dealing with loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship, Alonso and Ramos could be charged and have their suspensions extended.

All five face fines if found guilty and UEFA also has the power to expel the Spanish club from the competition, although that is highly unlikely.

Both players were shown the yellow card for the second time by Scottish referee Craig Thomson after Alonso delayed taking a free-kick for 22 seconds and Ramos was judged to have wasted 15 seconds over a goal-kick.

The cards mean both players will miss Real's final, meaningless group stage game with Auxerre, but, crucially, will enter the knockout stages with clean disciplinary records.

Dutch television captured Dudek apparently passing a message from Mourinho to Casillas, who then spoke directly with both his Spanish international team-mates shortly before their dismissals.

Casillas and Ramos have denied there was any conspiracy, while Mourinho has denied giving instructions to his players to get sent off.

UEFA will collect evidence, some circumstantial, from interview transcripts and the referee's report, and it can cross-examine the players.

NOS, the Dutch broadcaster, showed footage of Mourinho speaking to Alonso on the touchline before he picked up his second caution.

Two years ago, two Lyon players were fined for deliberately being booked during a Champions League match against Fiorentina.

Juninho, the Lyon captain, and Cris, his Brazilian team-mate, were fined €15,000 and €10,000 respectively for deliberately committing fouls to receive bookings.

Those bookings meant that the Lyon players missed the defeat at home to Bayern Munich, avoiding a ban for the first knockout round.

Several managers have criticised Real's actions, notably Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, who said that the Spanish team should be punished.

"Yes, I think there should be sanctions. You want to (earn the) respect (of) people who pay money to watch. I just think when you watch it on television, it doesn't look good."

Wenger admitted that he had contemplated similar action in the past, but said he would never go through with it because it would affect the integrity of the game. "You never say that it doesn't cross your mind to do that," he said.

"You have to be completely honest, but when you see how it looks on television, it is the best demonstration to think: 'Never do that again', as well to think: 'Never do that', because it looks, frankly, horrible, terrible."

Vicente del Bosque, the former Real coach who is now in charge of Spain, excused the action. "I don't know if it is unsporting, but they have to think of the future and they worked it well," Del Bosque said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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