Chelsea accept two-match ban for Mourinho with sigh of relief

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Chelsea will almost certainly not appeal against a two-match touchline ban imposed yesterday on manager Jose Mourinho even though it will rule him out of both legs of their Champions' League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

Chelsea will almost certainly not appeal against a two-match touchline ban imposed yesterday on manager Jose Mourinho even though it will rule him out of both legs of their Champions' League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

A final decision will be made later today once Chelsea's lawyers have received the reasons in writing from Uefa, European football's governing body, for finding Mourinho guilty of bringing the game into disrepute.

Chelsea fear that an appeal may result in a lengthier ban and would also wreck their preparations for the first leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as Mourinho would have to appear in person at Uefa's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Monday.

Chelsea, in the first admission that they were partly at fault over the whole episode, declared that their complaint over whether the Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had visited the referee Anders Frisk's room during half-time at the Nou Camp in February had been "blown out of all proportion". The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, a surprise attendee at the hearing, admitted there had been a "misunderstanding". Chelsea also accept that Uefa's punishment could have been more severe and are, privately, greatly relieved with the outcome. Mourinho himself is thought to be sanguine about the proceedings.

Under Uefa's disciplinary regulations, Mourinho, who was also fined 20,000 Swiss francs (£8,900) will be banished to the stands - and will not be allowed in the dressing rooms or tunnel either. It's also likely that he will not be allowed to conduct a pre- or post-match press conference - which is ironic as Chelsea have also been punished for failing to attend a mandatory press conference at the Nou Camp as well as turning up late for the second-half. Uefa has warned that it will try to prevent Mourinho using technology to contact his bench during either game against Bayern as he did when he received a similar ban three years ago as coach of Porto.

Chelsea have been fined a further 75,000 Swiss francs (£33,300) while assistant manager Steve Clarke and security officer Les Miles - who claimed to have seen the alleged incident involving Frisk - have been served with lesser punishments of a reprimand for their conduct. However, the punishments fall far short of those which had been threatened when Chelsea were originally charged and effectively labelled liars by Uefa officials for making "false declarations". One of those, the director of communications William Galliard, who was absent from yesterday's proceedings, and who had talked about expelling Chelsea from the competition, is now likely to find himself in trouble following his incendiary comments. His future is in some doubt.

Crucial to Chelsea's response is their contention that the 10-strong, semi-independent Control and Disciplinary Body, headed by Peter Limacher, accepted there had not been any deliberate collusion, or lying, over the incident. After originally declaring he had witnessed it himself Mourinho has since admitted that he had relied on Clarke's and Miles's claims.

Mourinho, meanwhile, has certainly been punished more for the language he subsequently used - and the attacks he launched - rather than for his part in the report that Chelsea submitted to Uefa. He did not help his case by claiming in his column for Portuguese magazine Dez Record that he had seen what had happened and that the game had an "adulterated result". Chelsea also concede that Mourinho could not hope to escape punishment because of his previous misdemeanours.

Buck, a lawyer himself, who was accompanied by Chelsea secretary David Barnard and Jim Sturman QC, a specialist in sports law, said of the verdict: "We are not overly happy with the decision but we respect it. I think the panel took view that there was a misunderstanding in the statements we made - but that they were made in good faith and the club and the persons who made those statements continue to believe that. In large part the situation has been blown out of proportion but this was a serious matter and we're hoping to put it behind us."

Buck also apologised because Frisk felt forced to resign following the allegations and the threats he subsequently received. "The whole club respects his integrity and we are very sorry about the situation that developed," he said while promising that Chelsea would do all they could to find the culprits. It was also the first apology from the club.

Buck added: "We think the hearing was a full and fair hearing. We were able to make our point and our statement and we were pleased with the proceedings. With respect to the situation generally, the view of the club is that we would like to put this incident behind us. We are not likely to appeal but would like to reserve that decision until we see the reasoning of the panel."

It is not the end of Chelsea's disciplinary battles. Last week the club and Mourinho were charged by the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach to Arsenal defender Ashley Cole, who was himself also charged. Earlier this month Mourinho was fined by the Football Association over comments made after the League Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

CHELSEA RULING: UEFA'S STATEMENT

Having listened to evidence presented by the disciplinary inspector and by Chelsea FC, the control and disciplinary body decided to impose a two-match suspension and a fine of Swiss Fr20,000 (£9,000) on the Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea were fined Swiss Fr75,000 (£33,300). Les Miles (security officer) and Steve Clarke (assistant coach) were each reprimanded. The above decisions may be appealed against within three days of Uefa informing the club in writing of the reasoning.

As far as the touchline ban is concerned, Article 70 para 2 of the Uefa Disciplinary Regulations states: "'A team manager/ coach who is suspended from carrying out his function may follow the match for which he is suspended from the stands only.

"He is not allowed in the dressing-room, tunnel or technical area before and during the match nor is he allowed to get in contact with his team".

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