A UK football manger, Jose Mourinho, slammed France’s Canal Football Club for airing a private conversation that he says was secretly recorded. Mourinho manages Chelsea football and formerly worked with Real Madrid and several other clubs.
“I think you should be embarrassed, as a media professional because from my point of view I don’t think you – not you, but a colleague – (should be) able to record a private conversation, to make it public,” Mourinho said in a press conference after his comments were broadcast.
Canal Football Club aired his comments about players, including critical remarks about his own player Samuel Eto’o. Mourinho said the comments were secretly recorded during his private conversation with “a Swiss businessman at a recent sponsor’s event,” according to ITV.
Calling the broadcast an ethics issue, Mourinho said journalists “should be a bit embarrassed.”
He continued, “From the ethical point of view, I think it’s a real disgrace.”
The comments were made prior to an actual on-the-record, planned interview with Canal Plus, ITV reported.
Despite Mourinho’s claims of a surreptitiously made video, Canal Plus denied that the video was secretly taken and said its cameraman was part of the conversation with Mourinho. Canal Football Club chief editor and anchor Herve Mathoux told CNN “we are fully comfortable with this interview” and it is “very surprised” by Mourinho’s reactions.
“The camera was located 50 centimeters, maybe one meter away from him. It was a tight close up,” Mathoud said to CNN. “The discussion was informal, but it was held in the middle of a large group of people, including our cameraman. So there is no way Mourinho could ignore he was filmed.”
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An excerpt of the clip aired by Canal Football Club is published on YouTube.
Mourinho didn’t accuse Canal Football Club of faking the tape but said his comments weren’t intended to be on-the-record or told to a journalist, the Independent noted.
“I’m not defending what I said,” he admitted, but noted that he wouldn’t have made the comments on the record.
“From my perspective, the comment is not a good one, but it’s not something I would do in an official way,” TV.co.nz reported.
The issue of how Canal Football Club got the comments on tape aside, Steve Hewlett argued to CNN there wasn’t “any public interest” to justify airing the comments, the requirement for publishing a private conversation. Hewlett hosts a program for BBC Radio 4 called “The Media Show.”
“A few comments he makes about a particular player wouldn’t seem to me to pass any public interest test. I’m not saying it’s not interesting, especially to a Chelsea fan,” Hewlett said.
iMediaEthics has written to Chelsea Football Club to ask for comment from Mourinho. We’ve also asked Canal Plus for further comment. We’ll update with any additional information.