Manager is still at risk of ban as FA contests case
The Football Association has announced it will appeal after losing a landmark disciplinary case against Jose Mourinho, despite its expert evidence against the Manchester United manager being branded “contradictory” and “lacking context” by an independent regulatory commission.
Mourinho was charged with using abusive, insulting or improper language after last month’s 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle at Old Trafford, but that was found “not proved” at a hearing last week.
Having expressed surprise at the verdict, the FA has now decided to appeal after “carefully considering” the commission’s written findings released yesterday, which again raises the possibility of Mourinho receiving a touchline ban.
Yet it has emerged the commission picked holes in the submission of the lip-reading expert Pedro Xavier, who the FA instructed to assist its case after Mourinho was caught swearing in Portuguese into a television camera at the end of the Newcastle game. Xavier was said to have contradicted himself and failed to provide adequate context in which Mourinho’s remarks were made, which was considered essential to establishing if the manager was guilty of the charge.
Instead, the commission sided with a Portuguese language expert employed by Mourinho and United. Simao Valente, an assistant professor at the University of Lisbon, was said to have provided a “contextual translation” of Mourinho’s remarks that effectively amounted to “f---, yeah” or “hell, yeah” that was described as “the most accurate in these circumstances”.
The commission ruled Mourinho was not “aiming the words at anyone in particular”. It added the words were “inaudible” and had not been shouted and that it would have taken someone familiar with “Portuguese colloquial profanity” who could also lip read to accurately decipher the comments.
The commission wrote: “Even if the objective person was able to decipher the language [Mourinho] used, which is highly debatable, we accept Mr Valente’s evidence that a typical person fluent in Portuguese colloquialisms would not feel insulted or offended from what they interpreted from the footage.”
The commission said Xavier did not provide a contextual translation and “did not address context meaningfully, if at all”, particularly in relation to the context of professional football, where profanity is “commonplace”.
It also said a section of Xavier’s report “appeared contradictory” because he had stated that language was very complex, could be assessed and interpreted differently and that Mourinho’s remarks, while highly offensive in a professional setting, could “among friends (normally men) occur as a joke or a teaser”.