Mourinho’s Media Mindgames?

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Updated: January 13, 2015

Jamie Redknapp recently wrote an article slating Jose Mourinho for avoiding the pre and post match media commitments from the Newcastle match, stating the Portuguese “is in a panic” as opposed to “being clever and trying to turn the screw on referees”

Redknapp then went on to add how Mourinho’s actions only cause the fans to “suffer” and that he owes the media because they have invested “huge money in to the game” and should respect the Premier League more because “they have been good to everybody”.

Redknapp may well be right, possibly Mourinho has panicked slightly after seeing his sides eight-point lead slip. But, looking at the facts, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Mourinho was scheduled to be at pre match press conference until 5:47 on Thursday when the club released a statement that Holland was to take over media duties. This came 42 minutes after the FA had released a statement charging him over his comments in a post match interview at Southampton. If Mourinho were really panicking over the situation, it would have been clear from the outset Holland was set to take the presser.

Dan Levene explains the change for the press conference

Dan Levene explains the change for the press conference

The charges related to the match at Southampton where he claimed the referee should be “ashamed” of the decision not to award his side a penalty. The FA statement said Mourinho’s comments had “brought the game in to disrepute” and he was fined as a result. Interestingly, the FA statement also referred to a second charge, from the match away at Stoke, but they “decided not to being a disciplinary charge and instead him a formal warning”. The statement then went on to add, “The FA prohibit participants from making and pre-match media comments including comments of positive nature concerning the appointed match officials for a particular fixture”.

FA Statement on Mourinho

FA Statement on Mourinho fine

To sum up, managers are not allowed to make positive or negative comments about the referees. When they are asked for their opinions some managers find it hard to avoid talking about the referees, others find it easy, but throughout a season there aren’t many managers who don’t “bring the game in to disrepute” as the FA call it.

It is evident it is hard for managers to do the right thing, if they attend press conferences and interviews and give honest opinions, they are in danger of a backlash from the FA. If they refuse then high profile media figures like Redknapp call them out for being cowardly or disrespectful. It is a catch-22, and impossible for the managers to win. Redknapp is insistent it is Mourinho at fault, he makes him out to be acting like a spoilt little child. And perhaps that has some truth, but it must be frustrating for Mourinho, when he is given a final warning for making a positive remark about a referee, then thrown the book at him for honestly criticising a referee a week later. He can’t win. But Redknapp is right, surely there’s surely a better solution than Mourinho avoiding the media. Mourinho seems to be the media’s scapegoat in this particular issue, whether purposely, that remains to be seen, but it only helps Mourinho’s, quite ludicrous idea of the media against Chelsea campaign, manifest some more. The media need to start targeting the FA and helping to release the shackles on what can and can’t be said in the media. At the moment it is quite ridiculous.

When the issue of freedom of speech is so prominent in the news, it is ironic that football managers asked for their opinions on incidents/referees, the opinions Redknapp wants Mourinho to give to fans, they are scared to in case of a fine or backlash from the FA. Obviously there is no comparison between the tragedies in Paris and this minor issue in English football, but there are some similarities to be taken. Could we not have a more relaxed approach to disciplining managers when it comes to comments made before and after the game? Let them give their honest opinions.

The FA is very oppressive with managers speaking out of line in press commitments, and some managers refuse to answer a large number of questions, the majority being referee related, in order to toe the line. The FA enforce this strict policy to help maintain the integrity of referees and to prevent them being influenced in future matches involving that club. But when it comes to the point managers refuse to say what they want, out of fear, giving dull and predictable interviews the something in the system needs to change. Every single press conference or interview is becoming redundant.

However having managers coming out and blasting referees week in week out, for the sake of it, would not be productive either. The FA would need to monitor criticism/praise, as opposed to banning criticism/praise by ensuring managers don’t make unjustified or go overboard with their comments. It can’t just be a free for all.

It must be said, whilst Redknapp raises a valid point in the actions of Mourinho, however the wider problem is still being missed; it is at the FA where the real issue of media commitment lies. Stop the censorship of managers and players and let them say what they really believe in interviews with the media.

6 Comments

  1. Saidu Sahid Kabia

    January 13, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    It Is Really A Good Point; Refeeres Should Also Be Punish By The FA For Been Bais On Certain Games Must Expecially When Big Teams Are Playing.

  2. paul

    January 13, 2015 at 12:13 PM

    l think the FA are over reacting toward people’s freedom of speech.the players and coaches should have the exclusive right to express themselves, instead there is punishment attach to right of self expression.their is need for total overhaul of the FA footballing rules.

  3. Kevin

    January 14, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    Huth (ex-Chelsea boy, now of Stoke) and Rio (ex-United, still a loudmouth) both got fined for silly little tweets. The FA is really doing a great job!

    Meanwhile, Arnautovic and Bardsley are getting away with leg-breaking tackles, and divers of every team are winning penalties.

  4. Paul

    January 14, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    Hang on a minute…the real villains are the journalists, they are the ones who ask the questions, they seem to bait all the managers, and especially Mourinho, it’s no wonder the press conferences are getting dull.
    It appears to me that journalists are now dictating football agenda’s by “linking” this player with that team etc
    I loathe them, along with the bookmakers, both these lot are now running football from the outside!

  5. Rob Baney

    January 15, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    The point about journalists, is yes they are trying to bait them in to saying something, because that is their job to try and get Mourinho/Allardyce whoever to say something controversial/interesting. The whole point in a post match interview is to get the opinions of the manager. The FA needs to allow managers to express their opinions, otherwise the post match interview becomes completely redundant

  6. asmaniga

    January 16, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    Jose shouldn’t use the word shame, but this is really annoying.
    Referees should do their job with intensity, making sure they an eyes on every player movement.
    Truly Fabregas had been fouled but instead of penalty kick he was shown a yellow card.
    In that, I support Mou that there is a campaign against Chelsea.

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