The recent after-match comments by the coach of EPL club Chelsea is nothing short of appalling and disgraceful and could lead to match officials being put in mortal danger.
Jose Mourinho the Chelsea boss clearly and deliberately and, in my opinion, maliciously criticised the referee and the PGMOL head of referees Mike Riley.
He was apparently upset by some of the decisions of the referee Mike Dean after his team lost their game against strugglers Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, April 4, 2014.
The penalty awarded against his team was, in the opinion of some, dubious to say the least and resulted in Chelsea losing their first home game in nearly three years. (see 2:35 into the highlights below)
It could also be the end of the London side’s challenge for the English Premiership title for the current season.
That being said, his outburst was uncalled for and definitely unwarranted. In his comments he sarcastically said he wanted to thank the referee for his “excellent” performance and in the process thanked the head of the PGMOL (Professional Games Match Officials Ltd). Again the sarcasm wasn’t lost.
Clearly incensed he then said he had nothing further to say and walked off refusing to answer any further questions from sports journalists.
This is not the first time that Chelsea have been at the centre of controversy with referees.
Just last year one of their players John Obi Mikel accused referee Mark Clattenberg of racism. Mr. Clattenberg was subsequently cleared by the English FA and the police of any wrongdoing. What did Chelsea receive by way of sanction? NOTHING!!!
Some 6 years ago one of the most professional and competent referees in Europe, Anders Frisk from Sweden, retired prematurely following death threats against him and his family from some Chelsea fans.
It’s interesting to note that Jose Mourinho was in charge during that time also.
As referees we take a lot of flak from uneducated and uninitiated fans and members of the public. This we take in our stride for to be a referee one needs a thick skin, be hard of hearing, and be unfazed from having our parentage called into question.
It’s not to say that we are immune from some comments but this level of outburst is not acceptable and should be repudiated by all right thinking sports fans.
When this criticism comes from someone as high profile as Mr. Mourinho it takes the risk of being a referee to a different dimension.
It’s not that long ago that a referee was kicked to death by three teenage thugs in front of his own son.
There are many more incidents of match officials suffering the wrath of disgruntled fans. I have very personal experience of such threats and having to seek the shelter and security of the dressing room.
Are we going to allow this sort of behaviour go unpunished?
Are we going to stand by and permit coaches to vent their anger in public and on television for the whole world to see to the detriment of referees and their personal safety?
When are the football authorities going to deal with this kind of outburst and send a clear and unambiguous message to all and sundry that there are avenues to go through with complaints?
It would appear that there are double standards here – a law for the big and a law for the little.
Many times I’ve seen so-called smaller clubs punished while their more illustrious counterparts get away with the proverbial slap on the wrist.
I hope the refereeing authorities will take this incident seriously and deal with the culprits.
I also hope the English FA will take proactive action and demonstrate to people guilty of such outbursts that they are responsible for their actions and will be held accountable for the consequences of their words and/or actions.