4 Dec 2010

Real coach calls UEFA ban a 'medal'

6:16 am on 4 December 2010

The Real Madrid football coach Jose Mourinho called a two-match UEFA ban for improper conduct a medal and not a punishment and said he had been singled out for special treatment by the European governing body.

UEFA banned the Portuguese after allegations that he had engineered deliberate red cards for two of his players in a Champions League match.

Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos picked up yellow cards for time-wasting which resulted in them being sent off at the end of their 4-0 win away to Ajax last month.

Mourinho says there is one rule for him and one rule for all other coaches making him special and the ban is like receiving a medal from UEFA.

After the Ajax game, Spanish media reported the Real players had acted on instructions from Mourinho.

They said the message was passed from Mourinho to reserve goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek and on to first-choice keeper Iker Casillas.

Spanish television showed Dudek talking to Casillas with hands covering their mouths and then Casillas was shown doing the same with Ramos.

The sendings-off mean Alonso and Ramos will serve automatic one-match suspensions in the final group game against Auxerre, which is a dead match for Real as they are assured of first place in Group G and qualification for the last 16.

Both players had accumulated two yellow cards in the group stage before they were sent off and a further yellow card in a subsequent game would have meant a one-match suspension during the knockout rounds.

UEFA fined the club, Mourinho and the four players involved.

The second match of Mourinho's European ban has been deferred for a probationary period of three years.