News: Pellegrini Apologizes to Jonas Eriksson
But not really.
The good news: Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini, under threat of sanctions from UEFA, apologized to Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson for – among other things – calling him a Swede.
The bad news is that it’s pretty clear that Pellegrini isn’t apologizing at all. He starts out by reiterating that Eriksson’s penalty call (which came after Martin Demichelis denied a clear goalscoring opportunity on Lionel Messi) “decided the game.”
He then goes on to list out each of the three primary accusations: That Eriksson was not impartial, that being Swedish he shouldn’t be allowed to referee big games, and that he gave the penalty to “make up” for a perceived mistake made last year against Barcelona.
He basically reiterates what he said earlier about each of these things, and then says basically the following about them all:
So, he isn’t saying that what he said was wrong. He doesn’t wish he hadn’t said it. He doesn’t acknowledge the calls Eriksson made that benefited Manchester City. He doesn’t really even apologize to a good referee whom he flat out accused of being a cheat.
He’s just trying to convince UEFA that what he said wasn’t all that serious. He just wants to avoid being punished.
Nobody’s fooled, Manuel. Not even Sweden.
Update, February 21: UEFA don’t appear to have bought Pellegrini’s mea culpa. They are opening disciplinary proceedings against him for “violation of the general principles of conduct” (Art. 11 of the 2013 UEFA disciplinary regulations). The UEFA control and disciplinary body will deal with the matter on February 28.