Mourinho avoids press conference

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has withdrawn from Friday's routine press conference after being charged with misconduct by the Football Association.

Jose Mourinho has been charged by the Football Association with misconduct over comments about match officials
Jose Mourinho, pictured, has been charged by the FA with misconduct over comments about match officials

Mourinho faces possible disciplinary action for the comments made about match officials after last month's 1-1 draw with Southampton, in which he claimed there is a "clear campaign" against the club.

The Portuguese was scheduled to face the media on Friday lunchtime to preview the home Barclays Premier League clash with Newcastle, but shortly after the FA announced the charge Chelsea revealed his place was being taken by assistant manager Steve Holland.

Mourinho claimed the campaign is being orchestrated by "people, pundits, commentators and coaches from other teams" against Chelsea and branded the booking of Cesc Fabregas for diving at St Mary's on December 28 a "scandal".

"It is alleged his remarks constitute improper conduct in that they allege and/or imply bias on the part of a referee or referees and/or bring the game into disrepute," a statement issued by the FA read.

Mourinho, who does not view officials as part of the campaign but fears they may have been influenced by it, has until 6pm on January 13 to respond to the charge.

Chelsea had been at the centre of a debate over diving when Mourinho made the comments.

Diego Costa and Willian were booked for simulation against Hull on December 13, prompting Steve Bruce to compare a Gary Cahill dive as "like something out of Swan Lake".

The London club faced renewed scrutiny on Boxing Day when Branislav Ivanovic appeared to take a tumble against West Ham, the type of incident Mourinho believes is being unjustly scrutinised to Chelsea's detriment.

Fabregas looked to have won a penalty early in the second half against Southampton after being caught by Matt Targett, but referee Anthony Taylor instead deemed it a dive and booked the furious Spanish midfielder.

Asked if recent incidents involving Cahill and Ivanovic had been influential, Mourinho said: "Of course. That's a campaign, that's a clear campaign.

''People, pundits, commentators, coaches from other teams - they react with Chelsea in a way they don't react to other teams.

"They put lots of pressure on the referee and the referee makes a mistake like this. We lose two points, Fabregas earns a yellow card."

The FA also issued a formal warning over comments made by Mourinho on December 19, three days before the victory in Stoke, in which he spoke about the need for a "good, experienced referee". Neil Swarbrick oversaw the match

"Having sought Mourinho's observations on this matter, the FA has decided not to bring a disciplinary charge and has instead issued a formal warning," the FA statement read.

"The FA prohibit participants from making any pre-match media comments including comments of a positive nature concerning the appointed match officials for a particular fixture.

"Whether the official is identifiable by name or by implication, these are deemed to amount to improper conduct in breach of FA Rule E3."