Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been fined £10,000 by the Football Association for his comments made after his team's 2-1 loss at the hands of Sunderland in April.
Mourinho criticised official Mike Dean following his decision to give Sunderland a penalty in that match for an alleged foul committed by Cesar Azpilicueta, amidst several other decisions with which the Portuguese manager seemed to disagree.
Following the match, Mourinho gave a short speech in which he refused to comment on the incidents in question, but rather "congratulated" all of the protagonists in the match.
Here is the full transcript, via The Guardian's Dominic Fifield:
The first is to congratulate my players. They did everything they could, playing from the first minute to the last seconds, and deserved that. Sometimes we praise the players when we win. I think it's fair to praise my players after the defeat. Secondly, congratulations to Sunderland. It doesn't matter how, why or in which way they won, they won. They won three fantastic points. I think it's also fair to congratulate them.
Third point, I want to congratulate again Mike Dean. I think his performance was unbelievable and I think when referees have unbelievable performances, I think it's fair that as managers we give them praise. So, fantastic performance. He came here with one objective. To make a fantastic performance. And he did that. And, fourth, congratulations also to Mike Riley, the referees' boss. What they are doing through the whole season is fantastic, especially in the last couple of months, and in teams involved in the title race. Absolutely fantastic. I also congratulate Mr Riley.
While Mourinho didn't directly criticise anyone involved, the sarcastic nature of his interview had pundits and fans alike curious as to what the FA's response would be. Following a lengthy investigation, the FA announced its decision via a statement on its website on Thursday:
Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, Jose Mourinho has been fined £10,000 in relation to comments he made after Chelsea’s game against Sunderland on 19 April 2014.
While the commission did not find that Mourinho’s post-match comments called into question the integrity of the referee appointed to the above fixture and/or the integrity of Mike Riley, general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, they did find that the comments brought the game into disrepute and the charge for improper conduct was found proven.
The wording of the FA makes the verdict seem peculiar at best. While some kind of punishment was to be expected, the FA openly stated Mourinho's comments did not question the integrity of the two parties he effectively criticised.
But because the comments "brought the game into disrepute," a charge for improper conduct was still found proven. Such a motivation makes little sense, and one has to assume Mourinho's reputation for being outspoken played a large part in the eventual verdict.
Fans were none too happy with the verdict, and they wanted to make that very clear to the powers that be:
@FA Mourinho has done nothing wrong.— Darius (@Darius0995) May 8, 2014
Mourinho fined 10k for being sarcastic— Ryan Hatch (@RyanHatch95) May 8, 2014
The size of the fine is another sticking point, as this fan pointed out:
Mourinho would make comments about that referee again. £10,000 is peanuts to him.— Ben (@BenCFC___) May 8, 2014
In the same statement, the FA also made it known the Chelsea boss had lost his appeal against another fine, imposed on him following a March-fixture against Aston Villa:
Meanwhile, Mourinho has lost his appeal against an Independent Regulatory Commission’s decision to fine him £8,000 in relation to Chelsea’s game against Aston Villa on on 15 March 2014.
Mourinho denied a breach of FA Rule E3 in that his behaviour in re-entering the field of play and approaching the Match Referee in an attempt to speak to him, in or around the 90th minute of the game amounted to improper conduct.
The charge was found proven by an Independent Regulatory Commission and that decision was upheld by an Appeal Panel on Thursday.
By avoiding a suspension and only seeing the amount of the fine go up by 20 percent in comparison to his antics against Villa, Mourinho's punishment effectively equates to a slap on the hand.
Fans of Mourinho will reiterate their belief the manager shouldn't be punished for "congratulating" an official, something the FA claims did not question his integrity. His opponents, on the other hand, will not be satisfied with the controversial coach walking away with nothing but a £10,000 fine, which is pocket change for the Portuguese.
The FA's verdict, therefore, seems to be one that doesn't please anyone, making the association the biggest losers of this entire ordeal. The only bright spot in this verdict is that neutral fans can expect plenty more entertaining rants to come their way in the near future.