Jose Mourinho’s swearing row today deepened after the FA appealed against their landmark defeat over what the Manchester United manager said down the camera — with the exact wording central to the explosive written report released today.
The Manchester United manager was charged with using “abusive, insulting or improper language” in Portuguese after last month’s dramatic victory over Newcastle but that was found “not proven” by an independent commission.
The 55-year-old avoided a touchline ban and the FA, who were surprised by the verdict, decided to contest the decision after seeing the written findings which were released on Wednesday.
In an exhaustive report to outline its findings, the commission confirmed that the FA had hired a Portuguese lip-reader, Pedro Xavier, to interpret what Mourinho said into a television camera as he left the pitch — notably “fodas filhos de puta” which means ‘f**k off sons of b*****s’.
Mourinho accepted the interpretation but used a lip-reader of his own, Simao Valente, to successfully argue that the context of his comments were closer to “f**k yeah” after winning a key game in dramatic circumstances.
The commission accepted this argument.
Mourinho also claimed that swearing is commonplace and provided a list of other key figures in the game who were not charged despite being caught on camera swearing.
The report’s conclusion read: “There was no meaningful dispute between the parties as to what words the video footage captures JM using. JM expressly accepts mouthing the words ascribed to him by The FA’s expert. The crux of the case relates to the translation and interpretation of JM’s language.
The competing submissions from The FA and JM were premised on their own expert evidence.
“A central contention was the relevance of context. The FA argue that as the comments are prima facie, objectively abusive and/ or insulting, the context in which they were used are not relevant for the purposes of determining whether breach has occurred but only for mitigation. This simply cannot be the correct approach in this case.
“Firstly, The FA’s own expert concludes in his report that ‘language is a very complex matter and it can be assessed in many ways and interpreted differently by different kinds of people’. Given such complexities, the scope for different interpretation, and the fact that we are being invited to interpret and make a finding on a foreign language, the context is pertinent to our consideration of the reasonable bystander test.
“Secondly, expert opinion before this Commission was that there are no Portuguese words considered universally or intrinsically improper or offensive in and of itself. Rather it all depends on how, where and when those words are used. To this extent, the use and perception of swear words in Portuguese is considerably different to English.
“The FA could not simply, and boldly, assert that JM’s words were prima facie, objectively abusive and/ or insulting and/ or improper without consideration of the context in which they were used.
“Mr Valente’s opinion was that the contextual translation of “f**k yeah” or “hell yeah”, spoken in a celebratory manner, was the most accurate for those reasons. We could see no reason to reject his evidence.
“The burden is on The FA to prove their case and their expert, Mr Xavier, did not provide a contextual translation. Indeed, he did not address context meaningfully, if at all, in his report. His evidence on the offensiveness of the words did not specifically address the actual context of their use. It did make reference to situations where the words used are specifically targeted at another identifiable person however we did not consider this to be probative in this case.
“Further, a section of Mr Xavier’s report appeared contradictory in relation to the phrase where he stated, “Among friends (normally men) it can occur as a joke or a teaser”, as in his conclusion Mr Xavier states, “ . . .but in any instance they are considered highly inappropriate and unprofessional.”
Mr Xavier also did not consider, or at least did not address within in his report, the words used in the context of professional football.
“While profanity is of course not to be condoned, it is commonplace in football and spectators who view matches in stadia or on television frequently do hear or interpret Participants swearing. The FA had the opportunity upon receipt of Mr Valente’s report to specifically put these matters to their expert for his opinion, particularly as The FA did exercise their right of response with detailed submissions and relied upon new evidence.
“In the absence of competing expert evidence on the significance of context when translating ‘Vos sois uns filhos da puta’ or ‘Vao levar no cu, filhos da puta’, we accepted Mr Valente’s considered opinion that the contextual translation of ‘f**k yeah’ or ‘hell yeah’ was the most accurate in these circumstances.”— Daily Mail