Italian press put boot into Mourinho

Inter manager's media relations hit new low after altercation sparks backlash

Pete Jenson
Tuesday 15 December 2009 01:00
Mourinho is no stranger to controversy
Mourinho is no stranger to controversy

Jose Mourinho's stormy relationship with the Italian press has reached a new low with the former Chelsea manager being accused of physically and verbally abusing a journalist after Internazionale's draw away to Atalanta at the weekend.

Mourinho, who has made no secret of wanting to return to manage a Premier League club at some point in the future, must now wait to see if Internazionale president Massimo Moratti or the Italian Football Federation decides to heed calls to punish him.

Andrea Ramazzotti of Rome-based paper Corriere dello Sport was allegedly pushed and insulted by Mourinho when he approached the Inter team bus after Sunday's game.

Ramazzotti had been given permission by press officers from both home club Atlanta and Inter to approach the bus, on behalf of the written press at the game, and listen to Inter players giving interviews to the club's own TV channel.

Journalists at the scene claim Mourinho confronted him using derogatory language asking what he thought he was doing in an area where no press representatives were allowed. They say he refused to accept the journalist's claim that he had been given permission and pushing ensued before the pair were separated.

The Italian Sport Union of Journalists (USSI) condemned Mourinho's alleged actions, urging Inter president Moratti and the country's governing sporting bodies to investigate. A statement issued by them read: "The physical and verbal aggression of Inter coach Jose Mourinho towards our colleague Andrea Ramazzotti marks one of the lowest and alarming moments in the relations between football and sporting press.

"Mourinho was already cited, prior to the Champions League game with Rubin Kazan, for his ill-mannered and disrespectful tone towards certain colleagues.

"This aggression marks an irresponsible and unacceptable escalation. USSI expresses not only its indignation, but asks president Moratti to intervene energetically so that a member of his club [Mourinho] adapts to the great tradition of civility of the club and of the Moratti family."

"I would rather not say anything," said Moratti. "I do not have all the evidence in front of me to make a judgement. I will talk with the Italian Sports press and I will talk to the head of the union to find out what he means by 'energetic action'."

The USSI also want the Italian Football Federation to make a stand urging it "to examine the behaviour of Mourinho for eventual sanctions".

Tension had built up between the Italian sports press and Mourinho in the days leading up to Inter's match against Atalanta. The Portuguese coach had been unhappy about the tone of questioning before Inter's Champions League win over Rubin Kazan suggesting he could be fired if they failed to qualify. He told journalists: "Last year we won the league and this year we are top. This season in the Champions League we took two more points in qualifying than last season. I thought Italy was a country where all that mattered was results. That seems to apply to everyone but me."

Inter cancelled Friday's press conference although Mourinho would not have had to appear because he was suspended for the weekend fixture having been sent from the dug-out the previous week.

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