FA 'surprised' after Jose Mourinho escapes touchline ban over use of foul language
Jose Mourinho has avoided a possible touchline ban after the Manchester United manager was cleared of using foul language - a decision that has surprised the Football Association's disciplinary department.
United rallied from two goals down against Newcastle earlier this month to secure a memorable 3-2 win at Old Trafford under the cloud of a report that the manager would be sacked regardless of the outcome of that Premier League encounter.
Such talk seemingly led to tensions boiling over at full-time, with footage appearing to show Mourinho making comments in Portuguese, at one point looking into a camera, as he headed towards the tunnel after the final whistle.
United vigorously contested the subsequent FA charge for using abusive, insulting or improper language, and an Independent Regulatory Commission decided against sanctioning the manager after a hearing on Wednesday.
A statement from the FA said: "A charge against Jose Mourinho for allegedly using language which was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper has been found not proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today.
"It related to an incident at the end of the Manchester United versus Newcastle United game on October 6 2018.
"Written reasons for the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission will be published in due course. This decision is subject to appeal."
United produced a strong defence and feel vindicated by the Independent Regulatory Commission's decision.
But the FA's disciplinary department is understood to be surprised by the outcome and will await the full written reasons when considering whether to appeal.
The written reasons as to how the judicial panel members reached their decision is likely to be published next week.
Wednesday's hearing means Mourinho will be on the touchline for Saturday's trip to Bournemouth, having seen off the threat of a touchline ban.
The decision certainly reinforces the independence of the Independent Regulatory Commission, which assesses the evidence and decides the relevant sanction where necessary.
The FA's Regulatory Legal department acts as a prosecutor against the charged club or participant at an Independent Regulatory Commission.
Last week the FA reminded Mourinho of his responsibilities after there was an unsavoury scuffle towards the end of United's 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
Chelsea assistant coach Marco Ianni was fined £6,000 after admitting a charge of improper conduct after sparking the incident.