Lately, soccer has become a game of cleverness and deceit. It’s all about who can get away with a dive and how a team can avoid the dreaded disciplinary record. Real Madrid’s own Mourinho got caught using the oldest trick in the book in last weeks CL match versus Ajax. In order to avoid two of his starters missing important Champion’s League games, Mourinho needed Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos, two players who already had yellow cards, to get second yellows. With the help of keeper Iker Casillas and substitute goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, Alonso and Ramos were relayed Mourinho’s message. By doing so, Alonso and Ramos would miss the meaningless group stage match against Auxerre and enter the knockout stages with a clean slate.
UEFA quickly launched an investigation after proof of the incident was presented by the Dutch broadcaster NOS. They revealed on Tuesday that they found Mourinho, Alonso, Ramos, Casillas and Dudek guilty of unsporting behavior. Mourinho was slapped with a one game touchline suspension and a €40,000 fine. Players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos were fined €20,000, Iker Casillas was fined €10,000 and Jerzy Dudek was fined €5,000, while the club received a €120,000 fine.
No stranger to suspensions and clashing with UEFA, Mourinho got what he wanted. Alonso and Ramos will be missing the last group game against Auxerre but enter the knockout stages with a clean slate. At the top of Group G, the Auxerre match meant nothing more than a practice for his team, not necessarily needing him on the sidelines.
UEFA has once again failed to adequately punish players and coaches for their misconducts. If they are going to take incidents such as this so lightly, they should expect many more like it.