Thursday 22 March 2018

Eva Carneiro's Chelsea exit angers FA board member Heather Rabbatts

Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro is understood to have parted company with the club
Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro is understood to have parted company with the club

Eva Carneiro's departure from Chelsea prompted fresh criticism of the former club doctor's treatment by the current holders of the Premier League title.

Football Association board member Heather Rabbatts expressed her "sadness and anger" at the news Carneiro had left Chelsea.

Carneiro is understood to have parted company with Chelsea in the wake of the incident on the opening day of the season when she was criticised by manager Jose Mourinho. It is understood likely that she will launch a claim for constructive dismissal.

Rabbatts said Carneiro had been subjected to verbal abuse and criticism after she went on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard - Chelsea were then temporarily reduced to nine men against Swansea as Hazard had to leave the field.

Head physiotherapist Jon Fearn did likewise and Mourinho said at the time: "I was unhappy with my medical staff. They were impulsive and naive.

"Whether you are a kit man, doctor or secretary on the bench you have to understand the game."

Rabbatts, who is chair of the FA's inclusion advisory board, said on Tuesday: "News of Dr Eva Carneiro's departure from Chelsea FC makes me feel sadness and anger.

"Eva was one of the few very senior women in the game, a highly respected doctor who has acted with professional integrity in difficult circumstances and whose skills have been highly praised by her colleagues, the club and governing bodies."

Carneiro has not been at Chelsea's Cobham training ground since she was removed from first-team duties shortly after the Swansea game. Rabbatts said she had been effectively demoted for doing her job properly.

A Chelsea spokesman on Tuesday said he could not comment on internal staffing matters.

Rabbatts added: "On the 8th August Eva fulfilled her duty as the senior medic and responded to the referee to enter the field of play to treat a player. Any other response would have been a dereliction of her duty and a breach of GMC guidelines as confirmed recently by the organisation of Premier League doctors.

"In acting properly she was then subject to verbal abuse and public criticism and in effect demoted by her removal from the bench.

"Her departure raises a serious question on how players are safeguarded if their medical support is compromised."

Carneiro was also the victim of sexist abuse from opposing fans last season. The FA is still investigating a complaint from a member of the public that Mourinho used sexist language towards her after the incident on August 8 - he denies doing so and Rabbatts stressed she could not comment on that matter.

Mourinho is thought to have said "filho da puta", which translates as "son of a bitch", on the touchline in footage which swiftly materialised on the internet. It is understood the complaint received by the FA claims Mourinho said "filha da puta", which translates as "daughter of a whore".

The complainant was implying Mourinho was referring to Carneiro directly after she followed Fearn on to the field to treat Hazard, but the comment has already been examined.

While Rabbatts was not prepared to comment there, she said: "As chair of the inclusion advisory board, I have a responsibility to support women in the game and Eva has been a role model for many girls and women who aspire to work in football. Her treatment sends all the wrong messages."

A spokesperson for the group Women in Football said: " We are bitterly disappointed about the departure of Dr Eva Carneiro from Chelsea FC."

The spokesperson added: "Dr Carneiro's treatment and ultimate departure from Chelsea FC sends out a worrying and alienating message to the already small numbers of female medical staff working in the national game."

The issue of team doctors has been discussed by the FIFA medical committee as a result of the incident.

Earlier this month, FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: "We work to a FIFA mandate on medical support. The duty of the doctor is to the player, not the employer. It is the Hippocratic oath."

Press Association

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