LONDON - The FA have launched an investigation after Jose Mourinho appeared to mouth obscenities into a television camera following Manchester United’s comeback win over Newcastle on Saturday.
If charged, Mourinho could be banned from the touchline when he returns to his old club Chelsea in the first game after the international break. It is alleged that Mourinho said ‘fodas filhos de puta’ — ‘**** off sons of b*****s’ — in Portuguese at a BT Sport camera while wagging a little finger as he walked down the touchline after United’s dramatic 3-2 win.
The FA are expected to use linguistics experts and lip-readers to confirm what Mourinho said before deciding whether to charge the 55-year-old with misconduct. Wayne Rooney was hit with a two-match ban in April 2011 for swearing into a TV camera after scoring a hat-trick at West Ham.
Even though Mourinho’s offensive language was in Portuguese, the FA are aware that Premier League games are beamed around the world to countries where the obscenities could be understood. Asked about the finger gesture after the game, he tried to play it down by saying: "No, it’s a finger, smaller than the others."
The FA probe has only added to Mourinho’s problems after the United boss lifted some of the pressure by beating Newcastle. His future at Old Trafford has appeared increasingly uncertain following a poor start to the season and fallouts with players.
The episode is also embarrassing for the club after his conduct this season was criticised by former United players — leading to claims from Mourinho that he is the victim of a manhunt.
Saturday’s win has raised hopes that Mourinho can turn a corner and keep his job, but another school of thought is that the result merely papered over the cracks that have been apparent for months. If the mood around the club does not improve dramatically, United risk losing their best players.