LONDON • Jose Mourinho's problems at Chelsea have deepened following the manager being charged for an obscene rant at officials away to West Ham United on Saturday that could land him a lengthy touchline or even stadium ban.
The Portuguese, whose job is under threat after the Premier League champions' dreadful start to the season, faces a fine and a suspension of up to five matches after receiving a sixth Football Association charge in two years.
He may not be permitted in the home dugout against Liverpool on Saturday and, even if he makes it, will likely be sacked if Chelsea suffer defeat.
According to ESPN, his camp has already started making contingency plans in case he is dismissed, with his representatives initiating talks with Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, on the other hand, is reportedly interested in Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid head coach, or Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich head coach, taking over at Stamford Bridge.
But both are unlikely to be available until the end of the season.
"Please, it's October," Guardiola said when asked about his future on Monday.
Carlo Ancelotti or Guus Hiddink, the former Chelsea managers, could be tempted back on an interim basis.
Mourinho, who is already appealing against a £50,000 (S$106,800) fine and a one-match stadium ban for suggesting officials were "afraid" to award his side decisions following the loss to Southampton on Oct 3 , was sent to the stands after an altercation with the referee, Jonathan Moss, at half-time at Upton Park on Saturday.
The charge relates to his language and behaviour during the interval and is understood to centre on his alleged refusal to leave the referee's room.
There have also been suggestions he made reference to Arsene Wenger and swore at Moss.
A deadline has been set for 6pm tomorrow for Mourinho to respond. A commission will then be brought together and, if the charge is proven, will determine the level of sanction to be applied.
That could comprise a fine, a touchline ban or both.
There remains the possibility they could meet in the 24 hours after the cut-off tomorrow evening, meaning any ban would be applied for the visit of Liverpool to Stamford Bridge.
More likely, however, would appear to be the commission meeting early next week, which would see any touchline suspension apply for the Premier League game at Stoke City on Nov 7.
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN