MEDELLIN, Colombia – UEFA has reduced Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho's Champions League ban for criticizing officials after he appealed.
UEFA's appeal panel ruled Friday that while Mourinho's formal five-match sanction should stand, two matches instead of one should now be suspended for three years.
Mourinho, who served one match of the ban last season, will now miss Madrid's next two Champions League group-stage matches instead of three.
Mourinho had accused UEFA and its referees of a long-standing conspiracy to help rival Barcelona after his team lost 2-0 in a semifinal first-leg match in April.
He was also sent from the dugout for comments directed at match officials.
The Portuguese coach gave evidence during a six-hour hearing but left before learning the verdict.
Appearing sullen and unsmiling, Mourinho did not respond to questions while accompanied by lawyers and club officials. His legal team included Jean Louis Dupont, who helped Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman win a landmark freedom of contract case in the 1990s.
''After hearing the parties and looking at various pieces of evidence, the appeals body decided to modify the sanction,'' UEFA said in a statement.
The UEFA panel confirmed that Mourinho was punished for making ''inappropriate'' comments and upheld his fine of $71,000.
Under UEFA rules, he can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport because the sanction is at least three matches.
Mourinho's ban prevents him entering the dugout or dressing room, or communicating with players and coaches at Champions League matches.