Mourinho under fire over team doctor treatment
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho found himself at the eye of a storm on Thursday as criticism mounted over reports he has sidelined the Premier League champions’ team doctor Eva Carneiro.
British media reports claim Carneiro will no longer attend Chelsea’s matches or training sessions after Mourinho lambasted her and physiotherapist Jon Fearn for running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during the latter stages of last weekend’s 2-2 draw at home to Swansea City.
The outspoken Mourinho, who said that Carneiro and Fearn had been “impulsive and naive”, has received widespread criticism, with Liverpool’s former head of sports medicine Peter Brukner branding his behaviour “absolutely appalling”.
In a statement on Thursday, the Premier League Doctors’ Group described Carneiro’s reported demotion as “unjust in the extreme”.
It added: “In the publicised incident in last Saturday’s game against Swansea, the Chelsea medical staff were clearly summoned onto the field of play by the match referee to attend to a player.
“A refusal to run onto the pitch would have breached the duty of care required of the medical team to their patient.
“It is a huge concern that Dr Carneiro has been subjected to unprecedented media scrutiny and a change in her professional role, merely because she adhered to her code of professional conduct and did her job properly.”
Chelsea and Mourinho are yet to comment on reports that Carneiro’s role has changed, but he is expected to address the media at his weekly press conference on Friday.
Chelsea were down to 10 men against Swansea following the dismissal of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and were temporarily reduced to nine players as Hazard was obliged to leave the field after receiving treatment.
Mourinho felt that Hazard had not been sufficiently injured to warrant treatment and said that although referee Michael Oliver had waved them on, Carneiro and Fearn’s actions showed that they did not “understand the game”.
– ‘Integrity and professionalism’ –
Carneiro thanked people for their support in the aftermath of the incident, writing on Facebook on Sunday: “I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.”
Reports emerged on Tuesday that her role would be changing, but that she would be keeping her position as first-team doctor.
Carneiro, born in Gibraltar to a Spanish father and English mother, joined Chelsea in February 2009 and was promoted to the role of first-team doctor and assistant medical director by Andre Villas-Boas, one of Mourinho’s predecessors, in 2011.
The chief executive of the Football Medical Association, Eamonn Salmon, said that Carneiro had been correct not to factor in the status of the match when she decided to go to Hazard’s aid.
“We fully support the actions of our members and colleagues in this incident, who acted with integrity and professionalism at all times,” he said.
“Factors extraneous to the immediate medical needs of the patient, such as the stage and state of the game, cannot be part of their consideration at such time.”
Football Association director and former England women’s footballer Kelly Simmons, meanwhile, expressed hope that the row would not deter women from working in football.
“That’s obviously an issue for Chelsea,” she said.
“I’m not close to it and I’ve only seen headlines in the newspapers, but what I would say is we want to see more women in all roles in football, so hopefully what’s happened in the last 48 hours won’t put off young women wanting to work in what is a fantastic industry.”
Carneiro previously hit the news in March this year when footage emerged of her being targeted by sexist chanting during games against Manchester United and Arsenal, prompting outcry.