Belfast Telegraph

FA appeals against decision to clear Jose Mourinho of using foul language

Footage showed Mourinho making comments in his mother tongue, at one point looking into a camera.

Jose Mourinho is again sweating on a possible touchline ban after the Football Association confirmed it was appealing against the Independent Regulatory Commission’s decision to clear the Manchester United manager of using foul language.

Last month United rallied to secure a 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle at Old Trafford amid intense scrutiny over the manager’s immediate future.

A report on the eve of the game claimed the Portuguese would be sacked regardless of the outcome of that Premier League encounter, with tensions seemingly boiling over at the final whistle.

Footage showed Mourinho making comments in his mother tongue, at one point looking into a camera, as he headed down the touchline, leading to an FA charge for using abusive, insulting or improper language.

United vigorously contested it and an Independent Regulatory Commission decided against sanctioning him after a hearing on October 31 – a decision that has now been appealed by the FA.

A statement from the governing body on Wednesday read: “Having carefully considered the Written Reasons of the Independent Regulatory Commission relating to the case involving Jose Mourinho, The FA can confirm it is appealing the decision.”

That move means Mourinho is again facing up to a possible touchline ban, although Press Association Sport understands he will be available for Sunday’s derby clash with Manchester City.

The appeal hearing will not be until the international break, meaning that a ban could be in place for Crystal Palace’s visit on November 24.

The FA was understood to be submitting its documents to the appeal board on Wednesday, while United will get a chance to see that submission before both parties settle on a date for the hearing.

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Jose Mourinho is again facing up to a possible touchline ban (Martin Rickett/PA)

The governing body made the move after reading the written reasons of how the Independent Regulatory Commission came to the decision at the non-personal hearing.

The written reasons show that the FA instructed Pedro Xavier, an expert in the translation and interpretation of lip reading of colloquial Portuguese language, to provide his opinion on Mourinho’s touchline utterances.

Xavier stated Mourinho used the phrase “vos sois uns filhos da puta” twice, which literally translate as “sons of a w****”.

Mourinho used Simao Valente, an assistant professor at the University of Lisbon and expert in the Portuguese language.

Valente interpreted the repeated phrase as “vao levar no cu, filhos da puta”, which he translated to mean “go take it in the a***, sons of the w****” in the literal sense, and “f*** off you sons of b******” or “f*** off you a*******” as an idiomatic translation.

Valente considered the idiomatic translation was not entirely adequate or accurate as the context of United’s difficult match was needed along with their difficult start to the season and “significant criticism in the media”.

Valente said that “the victory was vindication” and he did not consider the words used in the context to be abusive, insulting or improper.

Mourinho accepted the words ascribed to him by the FA’s expert witness, but claimed they were an “inwardly-directed expression of relief, happiness and determination”.

It was argued that they were inaudible and comprehensive only to “a person possessed of sufficient lip-reading skills and a deep expertise in Portuguese colloquialisms”.

Mourinho asked whether anybody had been insulted, abused and/or offended, as well as contending that the charge was out of step with the FA’s longstanding approach to swearing, citing several high-profile examples that did not lead to a charge.

It led the commission to rule: “We find that JM (Jose Mourinho) was celebrating victory without aiming the words at anyone in particular.

“His words were inaudible. We do not accept that he shouted the expression, as stated by Mr Xavier in his report.

“JM repeats the words, first looking away and then the second time we do accept that he is seen briefly glancing towards the lens of the broadcaster’s camera. The words mouthed were a Portuguese colloquial profanity.

“Thus, the objective person would have had to lip read JM’s mouth and interpret Portuguese colloquialisms to accurately decipher the comments.”

The commission continued: “We do not consider JM’s language constituted abusive or insulting or improper act so that it was in breach of FA Rule E3, therefore on the balance of probabilities the charge is unanimously not proved.

“Consequently, it was superfluous to go on to consider the remaining issue of legitimate expectation.”

Mourinho is sure to be asked about the FA’s appeal after United face Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

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