Tuesday, April 6, 2010

6 April 2005 - Mourinho Gets Away Clean

On 6 April 2005, Chelsea manager José Mourinho - already well-known as a quirky and controversial figure - added to his growing legend by cleverly defying a UEFA ban instituted for Chelsea's Champions League quarterfinal match-up against Bayern Munich.

Chelsea had played Barcelona in the previous round, losing the first leg 2-1 on 23 February. Afterward, Mourinho publicly accused Barça manager Frank Rijkaard of influencing the match by allegedly entering the dressing room of referee Anders Fisk at halftime. The accusation was so explosive that Frisk received a number of death threats, leading to his premature retirement on 12 March. Less than two weeks later, UEFA dismissed Chelsea's complaint and subsequently found Mourinho guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, issuing a two-match ban from the touchline and the dressing room.

When Bayern arrived at Stamford Bridge on 6 April, however, there were signs that Mourniho was present. Chelsea's fitness coach, Rui Faria, appeared to be wearing an earpiece covered by a heavy woolen hat, while their goalkeeping coach, Silvinho Louro, made several second-half trips to the dressing room, returning with pieces of paper that he handed out to the other coaches, with substitutions shortly following.

Years later, insiders reported that Mourinho had been smuggled into the Chelsea dressing room by hiding in a laundry basket. He spoke to his team during the break, then snuck back out after the match using the same laundry basket. The plan apparently worked, as Chelsea won 4-2 and Mourinho never faced any consequences for violating the ban.

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