Jose Mourinho has jokingly questioned whether Manchester City would still keep their 2018 Premier League title in light of the two-year ban handed to them by UEFA for breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP).
The news of City’s two-year ban from European competition on Friday rocked the football world, as UEFA clamped down on what it says was financial foul play from City between 2012 and 2016, when they are accused of deliberately inflating sponsorship deals to keep within UEFA spending limits.
City have denied the accusations and will take their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland – although there is speculation that the Premier League could follow UEFA’s lead in sanctioning the club.
Mourinho, who guided Manchester United to second in the Premier League table in the 2017-18 season, 19 points adrift of Manchester City, was asked about the shock ban on Sunday, after he had seen his Tottenham Hotspur team snatch a late 3-2 win at Aston Villa.
“My view is that I didn’t lose one single minute analysing what UEFA and FIFA, they have to analyse. If I go into that, I have to ask if the team that finished second in 2018 is going to be champions, yes or no?” Mourinho joked.
“That would be interesting but joking apart, I just wait calmly. Fourth or fifth, I just think about doing the best we can.”
City are currently second in the Premier League table, but should they be banned from Europe for the next two seasons, it would likely mean that the fifth-placed team would take their place in next season’s Champions League.
Mourinho’s Spurs currently occupy fifth spot after their last-gasp win over relegation-threatened Villa.
Adopting a more serious tone, Mourinho said City have “the benefit of the doubt” until the full process has been concluded.
“I don’t think it is about huge decisions or small decisions. The rule, the law, it is or it isn’t. From what I got is that UEFA punish them but they have the chance to appeal.
“I think until the appeal finishes, Manchester City have the benefit of the doubt. In the end of the process we will see if they are punished or not. I have nothing more to say about that. I don’t know.”
The Portuguese was in a cheery mood after he saw Son Heung-Min net an injury-time winner for Spurs at lowly Villa, even joking with the South Korean star as he was interviewed after the game.
“Are you asking him about the goals he scored or the ones he missed,” Mourinho jested.
Spurs are now fifth in the table on 40 points, one behind Chelsea but having played a game more.