The Football Association has accepted the decision by an independent regulatory commission to clear Jose Mourinho of using foul language at the end of Manchester United’s match against Newcastle based on a legal technicality.
As a result, the United boss will now not face any further disciplinary action, which could have included a touchline ban.
After coming back to win the Premier League clash 3-2 on October 6 against a backdrop of intense scrutiny about the Portuguese’s Old Trafford future, the 55-year-old was filmed in animated mood, allegedly swearing into a camera in Portuguese.
That led to an FA charge for using abusive, insulting or improper language but Mourinho was cleared of that charge by an independent commission at a hearing on October 31.
The FA, however, appealed against that decision, considering Mourinho’s use of such language directed down the lens as a breach of conduct rules.
On November 18, an Independent Appeal Board upheld the FA’s decision to appeal but a legal argument raised on Mourinho’s behalf, which the original independent commission had not determined, meant the case went to another panel for a ruling, which has now dismissed the charge.
A statement from the governing body released on Monday read: “The FA welcomes the original decision of the Appeal Board to uphold its appeal against Mr Mourinho for using abusive, insulting and improper language after the Manchester United v Newcastle United match on 6 October 2018.
“It also respects the decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission to dismiss the charge based on the legal argument submitted by Mr Mourinho.
“The FA’s position, which it maintained throughout the hearing, was that Mr Mourinho directed his abusive, insulting and improper words directly towards the camera lens, and in these circumstances, the decision to charge was consistent with previous FA charging practice.
“Whilst we accept that the Independent Regulatory Commission disagreed on this occasion, The FA wishes to make clear that it will continue to take action against Participants for any form of abusive, insulting, or improper language or behaviour, which is directed towards a camera.”
The statement concluded: “Finally, following the Appeal Board decision, and the most recent decision of the Independent Regulatory Commission, The FA now considers this matter to be closed.”
Mourinho was alleged to have said “f*** off you sons of b******” or “f*** off you a*******” but the commission – on October 31 – found the FA charge of using abusive, insulting or improper language not proven as Mourinho briefly glanced towards the camera and was celebrating United’s victory without aiming his words at anyone.
The FA’s appeal heard on November 18 then found Mourinho’s words to be abusive, insulting and/or improper, and that no reasonable body would have found the case not proven.
On December 6, a ‘legitimate expectation defence’ was considered, which resulted in the charge being dismissed.
The panel in that hearing stated: “In all the circumstances and in the light of the FA’s practice as it was at the time, we think it was not fair to have singled Mr Mourinho out for special treatment without due warning. In those circumstances, we uphold his defence of legitimate expectation.”