UEFA has charged Jose Mourinho with improper conduct following the controversial second yellow cards earned by Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos in Real Madrid’s 4-0 victory at Ajax in last weeks Champions League game. Here is the situation.
Both players had been yellow carded earlier in the game (Mourinho claims they were “soft” debatable decisions). If either of them got a yellow card in the next and last group game, they would be suspended and miss the first game of the single elimination round of 16. Or, if they got a yellow card in the round of 16 they would be suspended as their yellow card points total from the group stage games would be carried over.
Now here is where the problem is. If both players got second yellow card in the Ajax game, it would have given them enough points to be suspended for the next game. (By beating Ajax, Real Madrid had secured top spot in Group G and therefore a seed of a group winner for the round of 16 rendering the result of their next and final group game against Auxerre irrelevant.) And by doing this, they would start the round of 16 games with a clean disciplinary record, which means they would be allowed to get three yellow cards before being suspended.
So, according to UEFA, on the urging of Mourinho, both players purposely got themselves another yellow card resulting in red cards and ejections from the game.
What happened for the second bookings was that each player repeatedly stuttered, wasting time, when taking set pieces until referee Craig Thompson had no choice but to act with the yellow cards.
UEFA has charged Mourinho with improper conduct and Mourinho has denied any wrongdoing. I think it is obvious to anyone with an ounce of intelligence that Mourinho and his players purposefully orchestrated the situation so they could start the round of 16 with a clean disciplinary record. But I can’t see how UEFA can prove this.
Do UEFA have to prove this or can they go ahead with some form of punishment based on no proof but the obviousness of the situation? I don’t know. But what I do know is that UEFA only have themselves to blame for having such rules that don’t make sense.
It just doesn’t make sense for players to be put in this situation. It would make much more sense to give all players a clean disciplinary record for the start of the round of 16.
Mourinho or his players can’t be blamed for figuring a way around the ridiculous rule. It will be interesting to see what UEFA do.