A previous Wolves complaint against referee Lee Mason led to a “humiliating” criticism from Nuno Espirito Santo after the December game in Burnley, according to an independent disciplinary panel.
Wolves head coach was fined for comments after the match questioning whether Mason had the “quality” of being a Premier League official, after the 2-1 defeat at Burnley on 21 December.
For published written reasons, the panel concluded that Nuno “entered the game with a certain level of animus” after the Wolves reported on Mason in the wake of their 1-1 draw against Newcastle on 25 October.
The panel heard how the Wolves felt the complaint resulted in Mason’s temporary relegation to the championship in a short time, with Nuno expressing “his surprise and unhappiness” at the “subsequent appointment to the match against Burnley”.
The panel unanimously concluded that the criticism “would have been utterly humiliating” for the official, warning that public criticism of a judge could have a serious impact on mental health, “even for those as experienced as Mr Mason”.
The added behaviors like Nunos contribute to a climate where match officers are considered “fair game” and can “create a perception that such behaviors are acceptable at all levels of the game”.
According to the panel, Nuno launched an “opportunistic attack on Lee Mason’s professional competence” after I’ve told you Sky Sports “the referee does not have the quality to whistle in a game in the Premier League”.
The panel said the words were “completely unsolicited by the interviewers”.
The Tripartite Commission, however, acknowledged that Nuno “deserves credit” for his swift admission of the charge and “what generally seems to be a genuine apology and to Mr Mason”.