Carneiro wins public apology as Mourinho and Chelsea take their medicine
Published 08/06/2016 | 02:30
Chelsea were forced to issue a humiliating apology to Eva Carneiro last night after they and Jose Mourinho dramatically agreed a pay-off with their former first-team doctor, just moments before she was due to testify against them at a tribunal.
The club's former manager and senior lieutenants of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich turned up unannounced at the hearing yesterday and brought an abrupt end to her constructive dismissal and sex discrimination claim.
As well as a pay-off likely to have exceeded the £1.2m opening offer - rejected earlier by Carneiro, according to documents submitted by the club on the first day of the hearing at Croydon's South London Employment Tribunal - the 42-year-old also received the apology that she had been demanding.
However, it came from the club and not from Mourinho, the new Manchester United manager, who escaped a poisonous public trial during which he was due to be grilled for two days next week by Carneiro's barrister - an Old Trafford season-ticket holder.
Chelsea's conciliatory statement was in stark contrast to the skeleton argument they had submitted 24 hours earlier in which they denied any wrongdoing and sought to paint Carneiro as fame-hungry, money-grabbing and lacking the commitment to progress in her profession.
Chelsea finally acknowledged that Carneiro had done nothing wrong during the central incident, last August, in which she ran on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in the match against Swansea City on the opening day of the Premier League season.
She was demoted by Mourinho after that and that led to her acrimonious departure from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea said: "The club regrets the circumstances which led to Dr Carneiro leaving the club and apologises unreservedly to her and her family for the distress caused.
"We wish to place on record that, in running on to the pitch, Dr Carneiro was following both the rules of the game and fulfilling her responsibility to the players as a doctor, putting their safety first.
"Dr Carneiro has always put the interests of the club's players first. Dr Carneiro is a highly competent and professional sports doctor. She was a valued member of the club's medical team and we wish her every success in her future career.
"Jose Mourinho also thanks Dr Carneiro for the excellent and dedicated support she provided as first-team doctor and he wishes her a successful career."
Carneiro, who gave up a salary of around £280,000 per annum by leaving Chelsea, had claimed in her own skeleton argument that Mourinho not only called her a "daughter of a whore" when she ran on to the pitch to treat Hazard but had subsequently suggested she work with the club's ladies' team.
She also alleged she had been the victim of "regular sexually explicit comments from colleagues", as well as "sexually explicit chanting" at matches.
Expressing relief at settling the case, she said: "It has been an extremely difficult and distressing time for me and my family and I now look forward to moving forward with my life.
"My priority has always been the health and safety of the players and fulfilling my duty of care as a doctor. Running on to the pitch to treat a player who requested medical attention was following the rules of the game and fulfilling my medical responsibilities."
Carneiro had earlier arrived at the tribunal fully expecting to be cross-examined by Chelsea's and Mourinho's barrister when the hearing resumed.
But the shock entrance of a besuited Mourinho, followed by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia, immediately cast doubt on whether she would ever take the stand.
Over the next 90 minutes, there was a flurry of activity between the respective holding rooms of the two parties, with frantic negotiations taking place against the backdrop of a dramatic thunderstorm.
As the parties made their way back into the courtroom, it was still unclear that a deal had been struck, until Chelsea and Mourinho's barrister, Daniel Stilitz QC, announced: "We are pleased to be able to tell the tribunal that the parties agreed a settlement on confidential terms."
Mourinho and Carneiro left without making further comment. (© Daily Telegraph, London)