Man­ager is still at risk of ban as FA con­tests case

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By James Ducker

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”.

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