Liverpool vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho avoids triggering automatic stadium ban by one day

Mourinho is being investigated by the Football Association for suggesting it would be ‘difficult’ for Manchester-based Anthony Taylor to perform well as referee at Anfield 

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho has avoided triggering an automatic stadium ban for comments about the man charged with refereeing tonight’s Liverpool versus Manchester United clash – by speaking out about Cheshire official Anthony Taylor just 24 hours after the expiry of a 12-month suspended sanction for the same offence.

Mourinho, who was fined £50,000 and issued with a 12-month suspended stadium ban in October 2015 for claiming referees were ‘afraid to give decisions for Chelsea’ following a 3-1 Premier League defeat against Southampton at Stamford Bridge, is being investigated by the Football Association for suggesting it would be ‘difficult’ for Manchester-based Taylor to perform well at Anfield in the wake of questions over his suitability to take charge of the game.

Keith Hackett, the former head of Premier League referees, claimed last week that it was ‘grossly unfair’ to appoint Taylor to the game, before adding earlier today that he believed the official – an Altrincham supporter – was risking the personal safety of himself and family by officiating at the game.

When asked last Friday whether he believed Taylor was under too much pressure to take charge of the game, United manager Mourinho  said, "Somebody with intention is putting such a pressure on him. I feel that it will be difficult for him to have a very good performance."

With managers prohibited from commenting about the performance of referees before or after a game, Mourinho risks an FA charge relating to media comments if he found to be in breach of regulation E3.

But by making the comments on Friday 14 October at his weekly press conference, Mourinho will now not be at risk of triggering his suspended stadium ban due to the 12-month period following his Southampton offence expiring on Thursday 13 October.

In its written reasons for fining Mourinho and issuing the suspended ban last October, the independent regulatory panel stated that, ‘This ban is suspended and shall come into immediate effect if an FA regulatory commission decides at any time that Mr Mourinho has committed a further breach of FA Rule E3 before 13 October 2016 by any comment to or statement through the media.’

Mourinho was subsequently issued with a stadium ban following a charge of improper conduct in relation to his behaviour and comments made to referee Jon Moss during Chelsea’s defeat at West Ham on October 24, but that sanction was applied to a different charge than media comments.

The FA are expected to decide on Mourinho’s latest alleged breach of the rules later this week, making it unlikely that the Portuguese will be banned from United’s trip to former club Chelsea on Sunday.