Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho has infuriated his peers by strongly hinting that Italian coaches are influenced by their club presidents when making team selections.
Mourinho, whose Inter Milan side are well on their way to capturing a fourth straight Scudetto, said: "When I mentioned coaches that lose their own dignity, what I wanted to state is that while I choose the team that goes out on the pitch, other coaches don't do that, and in the world of football it's full of them.
"If anyone told me what to do with my line-up, the next day my office would be empty and I would have my suitcases packed."
Renzo Ulivieri, the president of the Italian Football Coaches Association, said: "Mourinho is a member of our association and we are happy that he is but this time, he has gone too far.
"Ask (Fabio) Capello, (Marcello) Lippi, (Luciano) Spalletti, (Cesare) Prandelli, (Massimiliano) Allegri to name a few, if their teams are selected by someone else."
AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has exchanged barbs with Mourinho in the media all season, said: "If I am the one (Mourinho) is referring to, then I can only say that I have won two cups under (AC Milan owner Silvio) Berlusconi as a player and the other two as assistant coach!"
Cagliari coach Massimiliano Allegri labelled the Inter coach's comments "pathetic", adding: "To step on other coaches shows a lack of respect. With club president Massimo Cellino, I have had several discussions during the year, but never has he gotten involved in team selection."
Mourinho, meanwhile, is in the Portuguese capital today to receive an honorary degree from the University of Lisbon.
"For my first degree I had to study a lot," said Mourinho, who majored in sports science at the Technical University of Lisbon. "For the one I'm receiving today, I haven't done anything."
Mourinho joked that there had not been much opposition to him being presented with an honorary degree.
He said: "Some people have questioned this choice. I don't know, but having read the official reasons from the university, all but one have voted for me to receive this.
"I have no problem in being criticised, I still live well."