The Blues boss lost his unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge after 77 games as relegation candidates Sunderland won 2-1 against the Londoners. Mourinho refused to take questions from the press following the defeat and instead ‘congratulated’ referee Mike Dean.
I was in the room when Mourinho gave his four-point reaction to the press and the reaction from the journalists awaiting his response was across the board unsurprised – whilst Mike Dean’s impact over the game may well have been substantial, there were few who genuinely disagreed with his awarding of a penalty to the Black Cats for Cesar Azpilcueta’s challenge in the box.
Whether or not the referee was right to point to the spot is, in many ways, beside the point – the real question is should the Special One be punished for sarcasm?
Mourinho had previously been charged for his comments back in March over decisions made by referee Chris Foy – few would disagree with Mourinho that the decisions did not go in his favour at Villa Park, but the rules are the rules; all managers must adhere to the Football Associations regulations which apply to everyone without exception.
The problem is that Mourinho didn’t technically criticise Mike Dean on this occasion, he actually congratulated him (and the FA) for Sunderland’s win, which is clearly sarcastic in essence but is it actually worthy of a misconduct charge? Had he have said the referee was incompetent a misconduct charge would be appropriate but since when did sarcasm become illegal?
If the FA reject his appeal against the charge it will bring into question whether it is the statement word for word that is considered misconduct or whether it is the intention behind it that matters – then, furthermore, how do the FA intend to regulate comments which come down to interpretation and leave so much down to the context in which they are said?
For example, if Mourinho had have congratulated the referee following a victory in which the referee genuinely did a great job, then would he be under the same scrutiny? Surely not which throws up a whole new debate that depends entirely on context and that’s just opening up a can of worms.