Belfast Telegraph

Football should support ex-Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro, says Dame Heather

The world of football should support former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro, FA board member Heather Rabbatts has said after being made a dame by the Duke of Cambridge.

Dr Carneiro was criticised by former Chelsea manager Mourinho and dropped from first-team duties after she went on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during a draw with Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League season last August.

She is suing Chelsea for constructive dismissal and has a separate personal legal action against Mourinho, who left the club in December, for alleged victimisation and discrimination.

Dame Heather - the first woman to sit on the board of the Football Association (FA) - said: "It is a matter of public record that I supported Eva.

"She is a great professional and at the moment she is a loss to the game and I hope she will come back soon.

"She is someone who the world of football should support, she is someone I very much admire. And it takes a lot of courage to do what she's doing."

Asked if the incident may intimidate young girls from the field, Dame Heather said: "Wherever you go in life there are moments of adversity and challenge - it is how we meet them, actually.

"How she has tried to deal with it, I hope, would encourage other young girls and women to continue to pursue their own dreams."

Dame Heather was made a Dame Commander at Buckingham Palace for public service and services to football and equality.

The Duke, wearing his Royal Air Force uniform, presented awards to 70 recipients, while 214 family members and guests looked on.

She added it was particularly special to by presented the award by William, who is FA president.

Also recognised during the investiture ceremony was racing driver John Surtees, the only man to win world titles on both two wheels and four, who was presented with a CBE for services to motorsports.

He said emotion was the best driving force for young people and hopes to set up a learning and training centre in Buckmore Park in Kent - where Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button honed their skills.

The 82-year-old from Lingfield, Surrey, said: "In everything in life there has to be something driving one, so if you can get people emotionally involved in something that is the best driving force, in my opinion.

"I was emotionally involved, I would have done it even if I hadn't got paid if I could have done," he added, referring to his early "tinkering with cars".

Conductor Neville Marriner, from London, was made a Companion of Honour for his services to music.

The 91-year-old said: "It is wonderful to see how uncomfortable we are because we are not used to being on this side of the audience. At my age you wonder 'gosh, can I still walk backwards?'"

Of his brief chat with William he said: "He was incredibly gracious. We spoke about his father actually because his father was interested in cello music.

"I think any help the Royal family can give to our profession is enormously pleasing for us."

Director Piers Haggard, 76, from London, who received an OBE for services to Film, Television and Theatre, added: "The nicest thing is to meet people from all over the country, that's the best thing.

"I do not matter really, what matters is that people who slave away trying to make things better."

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