Jurgen Klopp has been given a two-match suspension and fined £75,000 for comments about referee Paul Tierney that were deemed improper conduct.
Liverpool’s manager will be in the stands on Saturday for Anfield’s final home fixture against Aston Villa but the second game of the ban has been suspended until next May and will only be served if he breaches FA rule E3 over the course of the next 12 months.
Klopp was charged by the Football Association following a 4-3 win over Tottenham on April 30. The German pulled his hamstring when running to celebrate close to fourth official John Brooks, having been incensed about an earlier decision that Tierney had made.
Brooks, according to the written reasons into the case that FA released on Thursday, advised Tierney that Klopp’s behaviour warranted a yellow card; Tierney indicated he would have been prepared to give him a red had he seen the incident.
In subsequent television interviews, Klopp’s tone left the PGMOL, the body responsible for refereeing games in English professional football, concerned that Tierney’s integrity had been called into question.
In a letter submitted to the FA as part of his defence, Klopp (left) expressed deep regret. He said as cited by Sports Central: ‘I am sorry for my reaction in that immediate moment when I ran towards the fourth official, Mr Brooks and I fully accepted a caution was justified. I accepted that then and I accept now that a yellow card was correct. ‘Equally I am sorry for some of the tone and content of my post-match interview. ‘Although it was not my intention I accept now it appears that I was questioning Mr Tierney’s integrity. I take ownership. On reflection, the words I used were inappropriate. Both of these incidents were driven by emotion.’
The Football Association published a transcript of a conversation of referee Paul Tierney's comments to Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp has also been fined £75,000.
An FA statement read: 'Jurgen Klopp admitted that his comments regarding the match referee during post-match media interviews constitute improper conduct as they imply bias, question the integrity of the referee, are personal, offensive, and bring the game into disrepute.
Diogo Jota 's stoppage-time strike secured the three points for the Reds, with Klopp sprinting over to confront fourth official John Brooks and cheer in his face before limping back to his technical area after pulling a hamstring.
Tierney then booked the Liverpool boss, who had been furious with the decision to award Tottenham a free-kick which led to Richarlison's equalising goal.
Klopp said on Sky Sports after the game: 'What he (Tierney) said to me then when he gave me the yellow card… 'That's not possible. But it's not OK as well.'
The FA have released a transcript of the discussion between Tierney and Klopp.
The submission read 'Mr Brooks contacted Mr Tierney and said "Jurgen Klopp has just run and celebrated in my face. I think it’s a yellow card mate, minimum." 'It is clear that Mr Brooks considered Mr Klopp’s conduct to be misplaced celebration rather than an aggressive or threatening move. 'Mr Tierney responded, saying that he had not seen what happened and needed advice whether the sanction should be a yellow or red card. 'The Video Assistant Referee reviewed the video footage and advised "Confirming yellow card. Confirming yellow card Jurgen Klopp."
He added: 'Armed with this confirmation Mr Tierney went to Mr Klopp and showed him a yellow card, saying "Right…I have to show you yellow…it could be red, but I am going to show you yellow. He said yellow. We will give you the benefit of the doubt, don’t do anything more…." 'Mr Klopp’s frustrated reaction can be clearly seen in the video footage.'
The FA said Klopp's conduct and celebration did not give rise to any charge, with the charge instead based on the Liverpool manager's post-match comments.
The comments included the suggestion Tierney had a 'personal antipathy towards Liverpool.'
Klopp said post-match: 'We've had our story, history with Mr Tierney. 'I really don't know what this man has with us. He will always say there's nothing but it's not true. It cannot be, I don't understand that. It cannot be. I'm really not sure if it's me, how he looks at me. I don't understand it. 'I really have no problem with any people, not with him as well. But I say again. He was reffing at Tottenham when Harry Kane didn't get a red card. And Harry Kane, I love this player, what a player, crazy, I don't want him to get a red card – but it was a red card in that game. 'And it was Mr Tierney and nobody asked him about it because they don't have to clarify situations. So it's really tricky and it's difficult to understand and my celebration towards the fourth official I didn't say any bad words. 'It was unnecessary and I got punished for that immediately. I pulled my hamstring or adductor or whatever so fine. That's fair.'
Klopp's comments led to referees' governing body PGMOL issuing a statement which accused the Liverpool boss of lying.
Klopp added: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, I was trying to express how I felt whilst dealing with the frustration I was feeling around a number of decisions made during the game. It was about feelings and emotions. ‘To be absolutely clear, I know that Mr. Tierney, along with all other officials, do their work without any pre-conceived bias or prejudice. Although not an excuse, I believe we have made up a high percentage of Mr Tierney's matches this season? Something in the region of 20% of the matches he has officiated have involved my team. ‘I do not offer this as a defence, rather it is an observation and could be a reason for both the build-up of frustration governed by an inadvertent accumulation of incidents over an extended period.’
The Regulatory Commission had noted Klopp's letter and apology at his next press conference, but highlighted his poor disciplinary record having been charged on three occasions in the past five years.
Klopp had been banned for one game earlier in the season for his conduct during Liverpool's 1-0 victory over Manchester City at Anfield. He was also fined £30,000 and warned about his future conduct.
The Commission ruled latest charge warranted a sanction to reflect the 'seriousness of the breach' and serve as a 'warning to others in Klopp's position.'.