Chelsea face G-14 veto over Mourinho's feud with Uefa

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho's feud with Uefa over the referee Anders Frisk is expected to contribute to another rejection for Chelsea from the élite group of G-14 clubs when its members convene in Milan today to discuss an application to join from the Premiership leaders.

Jose Mourinho's feud with Uefa over the referee Anders Frisk is expected to contribute to another rejection for Chelsea from the élite group of G-14 clubs when its members convene in Milan today to discuss an application to join from the Premiership leaders.

The G-14, which was founded by the Chelsea chief executive, Peter Kenyon, when he was at Manchester United, represents the interests of the biggest clubs in Europe and includes United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Milan.

However, Mourinho yesterday raised the stakes in his dispute with Volker Roth, the chairman of Uefa's referees committee, when the Chelsea coach threatened legal action over the German's accusation that he was "an enemy of football". Roth made his comments in the aftermath of Frisk's retirement from refereeing because of threats made to him following Chelsea's defeat to Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

There is now understood to be more hostility than ever towards Chelsea following Mourinho's comments about the Barcelona coach, Frank Rijkaard, and his latest refusal to back down over Frisk's accusations. The Stamford Bridge club have found themselves with few allies among the 18 clubs that make up G-14.

G-14 was expanded by four clubs from its original 14 in August 2002 but in order to gain membership, clubs have to be ratified unanimously and only one dissenting voice will block them from joining. After Arsenal's complaint to the Premier League over the Ashley Cole affair last month, they are unlikely to agree to Chelsea's inclusion and Barcelona, who are still furious over Mourinho's behaviour at the Nou Camp, are also likely to veto them. Paris St-Germain still resent the manner in which Kenyon pursued the transfer of Ronaldinho when he was at United.

When Kenyon was appointed Chelsea chief executive by Roman Abramovich, he was regarded as an establishment figure who would smooth the way for the newly enriched Chelsea in football's corridors of power. However, so far he has found himself at the centre of a Premier League inquiry into the alleged illegal approach to Cole and shunned by members of the organisation that he helped to found.

G-14 has become a powerful lobbying group for the biggest clubs in Europe, especially when it comes to changes implemented to the Champions' League format by Uefa. The chairman and chief executives of the member clubs meet regularly throughout the year to discuss the big issues such as television and media rights.

However, Kenyon, like the former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, has found little appetite within G-14 to include the Stamford Bridge club. Last year, Kenyon also lost out on a place on the FA Council to the Manchester United chief executive, David Gil,l and the Bolton Wanderers chairman, Phil Gartside.

Yesterday, Mourinho showed no sign of relenting in his dispute with Roth over Frisk. He said: "With regards to the declarations from Mr Roth, there's two ways out: he apologises or it goes to court."

Even the League Managers' Association sought to distance themselves from the Chelsea manager's comments and warned him that legal action would be an expensive and potentially damaging option. The LMA vice-chairman, Frank Clark, said: "That is for him to decide as an individual. We give our members massive legal support now but not in areas of libel and slander. Those cases can be very difficult and expensive and we would not encourage our members to get involved.

"We have a code of conduct for our members by which they are allowed to criticise referees as long as it is done in a constructive and responsible manner. We have an excellent relationship with Keith Hackett [head of the referees] and our members have channels to make constructive criticism. The communication in England is better than it has ever been but obviously we do get fall-out."

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, also criticised Mourinho's conduct over the Frisk affair when he said: "I am shocked by the recent verbal attacks aimed at referees. It is often this irrational behaviour that triggers the anger of supporters. Those who attack referees are directly attacking the game of football that is their livelihood."

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