Fresh off his Europen exploits, Mourinho had just taken over the reins at Chelsea. The Londoners met Barcelona in a mouthwatering last-16 tie in the Champions League as they dominated the domestic league.
Barcelona won the first leg 2-1, a game which saw Didier Drogba sent off in the second half.
Post-match, Mourinho made a sensational claim that Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had spoken to referee Anders Frisk in the changing room at half-time.
When I saw Rijkaard entering the referee’s dressing room I couldn’t believe it. When Drogba was sent off I didn’t get surprised.
The Chelsea boss then questioned Frisk’s integrity in the Portuguese magazine Dez Record, saying the result was “adulterated” and that he was not surprised when Didier Drogba was sent off in the second half.
Chelsea lodged a formal complaint with UEFA.
Frisk received death threats and decided to quit the game, while Mourinho incurred the wrath of Barca fans. Chelsea advanced to the quarter-finals at the expense of the Catalans, winning 4-2 in the second-leg.
The statement led to fine of £8,900 and a two match touchline ban for Mourinho. Uefa referees’ committee chairman Volker Roth was appalled with Mourinho’s behaviour and lashed;
We can’t accept that one of our best referees has been forced to quit because of this. People like Mourinho are the enemy of football.
Chelsea were fined as well for bringing the game into disrepute, after their claims that Rijkaard met Frisk in the referee’s room.
However, UEFA official Fratellia said in his report that the meeting infact did take place (inconsistent to where).
His report stated: “The referee told us that he had contact with Frank Rijkaard from the pitch to the front of his dressing room door (closed). Rijkaard wished to say hello to Frisk at the beginning of the tunnel and then tried to talk to him climbing the stairs.
Frisk told us then that he said to Rijkaard that it was not the moment or the place to speak about any match situation and instructed him when he was in front of his dressing room door (closed) to go to his dressing room.”
Mourinho’s staff, assistant manager Steve Clarke and security official Les Miles, had also claimed to have seen Rijkaard coming out of Frisk’s room but the fact they were only given reprimands indicates the panel accepted there had been a misunderstanding over where they actually saw him.
Sources in the tunnel said that when Mourinho emerged from the Chelsea changing-room for the second half he was so incensed by what his staff had told him that he shouted at Rijkaard.
It went to show that Mourinho wasn’t entirely wrong but it was bringing the referee’s integrity in question that got him the ban.
Regarding Rijkaard, there was no love lost. He once said,
My history as a manager cannot be compared with Frank Rijkaard history. He has zero trophies and I have a lot of them.