Mauricio Pochettino was right. Hours after the Tottenham Hotspur manager let slip that he was expecting a sideline ban for his sideline altercation with Mike Dean two weeks ago, the FA released a statement detailing his punishment: a two-match suspension and a fine of £10,000.
Here is the full text of the FA’s statement:
Mauricio Pochettino has been fined £10,000 and will serve a two-match touchline ban following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
The Tottenham Hotspur manager accepted an improper conduct charge from The FA, which resulted from his language and/or behaviour – both on the pitch and in or around the tunnel area – at the end of the game against Burnley on 23 February 2019.
Numerous British newspapers are reporting that Tottenham have accepted the punishment but are internally “furious” with the decision, which seems overly harsh considering the nature of the offense and the context in which it occurred. The Telegraph rightfully notes that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Watford manager Nuno Espirito Santo both escaped touchline bans for incidents with match officials this season, which makes Pochettino’s punishment look arbitrarily severe. Klopp, for example, was fined £45k but only issued a warning for confronting Kevin Friend after Liverpool drew West Ham earlier in the season.
I don’t know what Mike Dean said to Mauricio Pochettino, and what Poch said back. We know that he’s considered one of the most calm and collected managers in the Premier League. We know that Poch was unhappy with Dean and let him know after the conclusion of the Burnley loss. We also know that he tried to turn away and that Dean said something to him, causing Poch and Jésus Perez to turn back and angrily confront Dean. Poch is caught on camera saying “What? What? What did you say?” and gesturing at the TV cameras suggesting Dean should repeat it in front of the cameras.
Jésus Perez was not named in the FA’s statement, which suggests that he was not suspended along with Pochettino. That’s also super interesting considering Perez was very much a part of that confrontation with Dean and appeared on the video to be the more animated of the two. If that’s the case, Perez would assume touchline responsibilities for this weekend’s match against Southampton and Spurs’ following match at Liverpool.
There may have been another incident in the tunnel, or something truly nasty was said between the men on the pitch. We’ll probably never know. What I do know is that Mike Dean appears to have been just as culpable for what happened at Turf Moor as Pochettino, and to the best of my knowledge he is not receiving proportionate punishment. He will be the fourth official during this weekend’s Newcastle-Everton match. And that’s just the dumbest f—king thing.
Great job, FA.