London: Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has been charged with misconduct for comments made about match officials after last month's draw at Southampton, the Football Association has announced.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho
Mourinho claimed there is a "clear campaign'' by "people, pundits, commentators and coaches from other teams" against Chelsea and labelled the booking of Cesc Fabregas for diving at St Mary's on December 28 a "scandal".
"It is alleged his remarks constitute improper conduct in that they allege and/or imply bias on the part of a referee or referees and/or bring the game into disrepute," a statement issued by the FA read.
Mourinho, who does not view officials as being part of any campaign against Chelsea but fears they may have been influenced by it, has until 6pm on January 13 to respond to the charge.
Chelsea had been at the centre of a debate over diving when Mourinho made the comments.
Diego Costa and Willian were booked for simulation against Hull on December 13, prompting Steve Bruce to describe a Gary Cahill dive as being "like something out of Swan Lake".
The London club faced renewed scrutiny on Boxing Day when Branislav Ivanovic appeared to take a tumble against West Ham, the type of incident Mourinho believes is being unjustly scrutinised to Chelsea's detriment.
Fabregas looked to have won a penalty early in the second half against Southampton after being caught by Matt Targett, but referee Anthony Taylor instead deemed it a dive and booked the furious Spanish midfielder.
Asked if recent incidents involving Cahill and Ivanovic had been influential, Mourinho said: "Of course. That's a campaign, that's a clear campaign.
''People, pundits, commentators, coaches from other teams - they react with Chelsea in a way they don't react to other teams.
"They put lots of pressure on the referee and the referee makes a mistake like this. We lose two points, Fabregas earns a yellow card."
The FA also reviewed comments made by Mourinho on December 19, three days before the victory in Stoke, in which he spoke about the need for a "good, experienced referee". Neil Swarbrick oversaw the match
"Having sought Mourinho's observations on this matter, the FA has decided not to bring a disciplinary charge and has instead issued a formal warning," the FA statement read.
"The FA prohibit participants from making any pre-match media comments including comments of a positive nature concerning the appointed match officials for a particular fixture.
"Whether the official is identifiable by name or by implication, these are deemed to amount to improper conduct in breach of FA Rule E3."
Shortly after the FA announced the misconduct charge, Mourinho was withdrawn from Friday's press conference to preview Chelsea's home Barclays Premier League match against Newcastle, with assistant coach Steve Holland taking his place.