Jose Mourinho's attempt to save his Chelsea job has been hit by another hammer blow after the Football Association imposed a one-game stadium ban for what could be his final game in charge, against Stoke City on Saturday.
The FA confirmed yesterday that Mourinho had been handed an immediate one-game stadium ban and a pounds 40,000 fine after accepting a charge of misconduct for his behaviour at half-time in the defeat at West Ham United.
Mourinho is understood to have told referee Jonathan Moss "Arsene was right, you are f------ soft" in an extraordinary half-time rant, during which he refused to leave the officials' room before being sent to the stands for the second half.
The Portuguese can appeal against the stadium ban, which, even if unsuccessful, could potentially delay his punishment until after the Stoke game. Mourinho and Chelsea are waiting for the FA's written reasons, which they should receive ahead of the weekend, -before deciding their next move.
Mourinho's stadium ban and fine for the incident at Upton Park is -separate to the suspended one-game stadium ban and pounds 50,000 fine he -received for claiming referees are "afraid" to give Chelsea decisions.
The FA is likely to tell Mourinho and Chelsea today whether his appeal against the suspended stadium ban and fine has been successful.
Pending a potential appeal, Mourinho will not be allowed -inside the Britannia Stadium for Chelsea's crunch game against Stoke. He can deliver a team talk at the team -hotel, but he will not be able to speak to his players once they have left for the game and will have to rely on -assistants Rui Faria and Steve Holland to implement all match -situations, including substitutions and tactical adjustments.
Mourinho could in theory make contact with his staff during the game, which he will be able to watch on a live television feed from the team hotel, as he will not be -policed by a member of the FA or a match official. Faria was famously forced to remove his woolly hat by Uefa officials in 2005 after being -accused of communicating with Mourinho during Chelsea's Champions League defeat by Bayern -Munich, when the manager was banned from the touchline in -Europe.
Chelsea would not comment last night on whether Mourinho could face a club sanction for becoming only the second Premier League manager to be hit with a stadium ban. Questions have been posed over whether the decision was -delayed past last weekend to ensure Mourinho's television showdown with the new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was not ruined.
Alan Pardew, then in charge of Newcastle, received a three-game stadium ban in March 2014 for butting the Hull midfielder David Meyler. Other than his pounds 60,000 FA fine, Pardew was also fined pounds 100,000 and given a formal warning by his club.
The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, is likely to take a dim view of the fact that Mourinho has embroiled Chelsea in yet more -controversy.
Mourinho is likely to argue, at least privately, that a stadium ban is very harsh given he is yet to serve a touchline ban since his return to the club. But the FA is prepared to use the stadium ban punishment on an increasing basis, as it is a more effective deterrent to bad behaviour towards opponents or officials than a touchline suspension.
Other than Pardew, former Blackpool manager Paul Ince was given a five-game stadium ban for verbally abusing and threatening match officials in September 2013.
The FA confirmed Mourinho's latest punishment, and the fact coach Silvino Louro will not serve any ban for his dismissal at West Ham, in a statement that read: "Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today, Jose Mourinho has been given a one-match stadium suspension with immediate effect and fined pounds 40,000.
"The Chelsea manager admitted an FA charge of misconduct regarding his language and/or behaviour towards the match officials in or around the dressing room area -during half-time of the game against West Ham United on Oct 24, 2015.
"With regard to Chelsea coach Silvino Louro, who denied an FA misconduct charge in relation to the same game, the FA, having considered further representation, withdrew the formal charge of -improper conduct but reminded him of his responsibilities."
While he is not be able to attend the game, Mourinho is hoping to rush Branislav Ivanovic back from his hamstring injury in time to face Stoke. Tomorrow night's Champions League clash against Dynamo Kiev may come too soon for Ivanovic, but the right-back is stepping up his training programme.
Ivanovic, who has not played since the last international break, had been targeting a return for the Norwich game on Nov 21, but that may be too late for Mourinho, who could be sacked if Chelsea lose against Kiev and Stoke.
Although Ivanovic was in poor form before his injury, Mourinho still rates the 31-year-old as the best right-back at the club and his return would allow Kurt Zouma to move back into the middle, with both captain John Terry and Gary Cahill struggling for form.
Mourinho also faces a difficult decision over Eden Hazard ahead of the Kiev game, with Pedro Rodriguez now fit again and Cesc Fabregas pushing for a recall. Hazard was substituted after 59 ineffective minutes during the defeat by Liverpool. Real Madrid continue to monitor the Belgian's situation with a view to a potential summer move for the forward.