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Blues doctor "has to be respected"

Published 13/08/2015

Eva Carneiro's role at Chelsea is changing
Eva Carneiro's role at Chelsea is changing

FIFA's chief medical officer has thrown his support behind Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro and suggested Jose Mourinho should accept her authority.

Jiri Dvorak said on Thursday that club doctors have an "ethical duty to look after the players' health", as the fall-out from Mourinho's weekend outburst following his side's 2-2 draw with Swansea continued.

The Portuguese was furious after first-team doctor Carneiro went on to the pitch at Stamford Bridge to treat Eden Hazard, in the process momentarily reducing the 10-man Blues to nine players, later describing the actions of medical staff as "impulsive and naive" and suggesting they needed to "understand the game".

But Dvorak dismissed the notion of a manager telling medical staff to stay off the field, in the case of an injured player requiring assistance.

"I can't see such a situation and we have to defend the position of the doctor," Dvorak told Sky Sports News.

"Everyone involved has to respect the fact the doctor is in charge.

"I don't want to interfere with the club as such, but I would endorse clearly what the team doctor and the physiotherapist did. When they were asked, they had to come on to the pitch."

Stressing the importance of football club doctors being left to do their job, Dvorak said: "In medical aspects, in medical diagnosis, the manager has nothing to say."

Carneiro could have grounds to launch claims of constructive dismissal and sex discrimination if her role is changed as a result of criticism from manager Mourinho, according to employment law specialist Glenn Hayes.

Press Association Sport understands Carneiro is to retain her current job title, but will no longer be involved in matches or training sessions, and if that proves to be the case, Mr Hayes, a partner at solicitors Irwin Mitchell, believes she could have grounds to take legal action.

He said: "It's not entirely clear, the reasons Mourinho said what he has said, but if he said that based on the fact that she's a woman and not a man and she feels uncomfortable because of that - and I can see why that potentially could be the case, particularly if she has been treated differently because of her sex - then effectively she could bring a claim against both Mourinho and the club.

"If fundamentally her role is changed by virtue of the fact that she has gone on to do her job and he has criticised her for an apparent lack of understanding of the game, if that can be linked to her sex, then there's a claim there, from her point of view.

"It is difficult to know the exact situation regarding the decisions made by Chelsea.

"What we do know from previous cases however, is that football tends to exist in a vacuum when it comes to employment issues - and it is safe to say, from reports, that if this situation emerged in another sector, there could be implications for those involved.

"For example, as it could be argued that speaking out about her publicly has damaged the implied duty of trust and confidence between the parties, there could potentially be a claim for constructive unfair dismissal."

Mourinho is expected to face questions on the Carneiro situation for the first time on Friday.

Chelsea have called a press conference with the Portuguese to preview Sunday's trip to Manchester City, at 12.30pm at their Cobham training ground.

Footage released by Sky Sports on Thursday revisited the animated scenes on the touchline from Saturday's match, with Mourinho showing his anger towards Carneiro and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn.

Mr Hayes said Chelsea could also justify taking action against their employee, including demotion, if they were able to show she had ignored instructions.

The Premier League Doctors' Group has also expressed its concern over the ongoing situation and says a reduction in Carneiro's role would be "unjust in the extreme".

Both Carneiro and referee Michael Oliver, who summoned her on to the pitch, have received the backing of former match officials' chief Keith Hackett.

Hackett wrote in his You Are The Ref blog: "The doctor was clearly doing her job and has rightly won the sympathy of most people involved with the game."

Carneiro joined Chelsea in February 2009, having previously worked at the British Olympic Medical Institute and with England Women's Football and UK Athletics.

The doctor thanked people for their support on Sunday, posting on Facebook: ''I would like to thank the general public for their overwhelming support. Really very much appreciated.''

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