Manuel Pellegrini facing Uefa charge after criticism of referee

Man City manager suggested Jonas Eriksson was 'not impartial'

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) remonstrates with the fourth official during the Uefa Champions League round of sixteen first leg defeat to Barcelona. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) remonstrates with the fourth official during the Uefa Champions League round of sixteen first leg defeat to Barcelona. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 14:39

Manuel Pellegrini could be charged by Uefa for his outburst against the referee Jonas Eriksson, with the governing body waiting for the report from the official and its match delegate after Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Eriksson and the delegate have 48 hours to file their respective documentation. If Pellegrini is subsequently charged and found guilty, he could be hit with a warning, fine or even a touchline ban.

Pellegrini was particularly angered by Eriksson’s decision to award Barcelona a penalty at the Etihad Stadium, which subsequently led to the sending-off of Martin Demichelis, and accused him of attempting to rectify mistakes made when officiating a previous Champions League tie involving the Catalan club and Milan in 2012.

The Chilean appeared to question the official’s integrity by saying: “From the beginning I felt the referee was not impartial to both teams. The referee decided the game. He favoured Barcelona from the beginning to the end. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge and a referee who made a mistake against Barcelona in the group stages. I think there is more important football in Europe than Sweden.”

The match Pellegrini referred to was actually a quarter-final two years ago between Barcelona and Milan at San Siro that ended goalless, with the former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola complaining about two penalties Eriksson failed to award his side.

Asked if Eriksson was compensating for his perceived mistakes then, Pellegrini said: “Yes.”

Last season, when manager of Malaga, the Chilean was furious after Borussia Dortmund’s two goals in the 91st and 93rd minutes – the second of which appeared offside – knocked his former club out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals.

With Malaga fighting expulsion from the following season’s European competition due to outstanding payments, Pellegrini said after the game: “It was difficult for a banned team to reach the semi-finals.”

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