Klopp handed 2-match ban for questioning integrity of referee

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the final whistle in the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool Saturday May 6, 2023. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was handed a two-match ban on Thursday for questioning the integrity of a Premier League referee, with his poor disciplinary record and failure to heed previous conduct warnings counting against him.

Klopp, who was also fined 75,000 pounds ($93,000), will not be in the technical area for Liverpool’s next-to-last game of the season — at home to Aston Villa on Saturday — but the second match of his punishment has been suspended until the end of next season.

He admitted to a charge of improper conduct with regards to his comments about Paul Tierney, which were viewed as implied bias, questioning the integrity of the referee and bringing the game into disrepute.

After the 4-3 win over Tottenham last month, Klopp claimed that what Tierney said to him when issuing a yellow card was “not OK,” adding: “We have our story, history, with Mr. Tierney. I really don’t know what this man has with us.”

Klopp had been booked for celebrating in the face of fourth official John Brooks after Diogo Jota’s added-time goal.

In an independent disciplinary commission’s written reasons, it said the Professional Game Match Officials Limited — English soccer’s refereeing body — viewed Klopp’s comments as an “unwarranted attack on Mr. Tierney’s integrity.”

The commission noted that Klopp had appeared at disciplinary hearings on three occasions in the past five years.

“Those sanctions plainly failed to deter Mr. Klopp from committing nine similar breaches of the rules,” read the written reasons. “Mr. Klopp is a high-profile individual in the football world. He must have known that what he said would attract widespread publicity.

“He should have realized that it was incumbent on him to restrain himself and to behave properly. The statements that Mr. Klopp made/adopted were not limited to comments on the immediate match, but extended to allegations of persistent bias against a blameless referee. The intense media interest that followed Mr. Klopp’s remarks was highly damaging.”