Chelsea fume at Diego Costa ban as Doctor Eva Carneiro exits Bridge
Chelsea were back under siege again last night as they were hit by the double blow of Diego Costa receiving a three-game ban for violent conduct and the news that team doctor Eva Carneiro has decided to leave the club and is considering legal action against the champions for constructive dismissal.
Striker Costa will now miss tonight's Capital One Cup third-round tie against Walsall and the Premier League matches away to Newcastle United and at home to Southampton, while Chelsea could have longer-term problems with the possibility of a drawn-out legal case.
Chelsea had until 6pm to respond to a Football Association charge against Costa for the incident with Laurent Koscielny in Saturday's 2-0 win over Arsenal, and it was at that point their problems became even greater than the absence of last season's controversial top scorer.
First of all, it emerged that Carneiro had decided to leave the club, having not appeared at work since August 8. That was the day she ran onto the pitch in the 2-2 draw against Swansea to treat an injured Eden Hazard, to the very public frustration of manager Jose Mourinho.
Carneiro thereafter had her team duties significantly reduced and, despite being told to return to work last Friday, it is understood she has not been seen at the Cobham training ground.
Sources also state she has sought legal advice about suing Chelsea for constructive dismissal. The club meanwhile continued their stance of refusing to discuss the issue, stating they "can't comment on internal staffing matters".
FA board member Heather Rabbatts - who is also chair of the FA's inclusion advisory board - released a statement in defence of Carneiro and critical of Chelsea.
"News of Dr Eva Carneiro's departure from Chelsea FC makes me feel sadness and anger," said Rabbatts. "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. 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. Her treatment sends all the wrong messages."
Shortly afterwards, the FA released a statement which read: "An FA charge against Diego Costa for violent conduct not seen by the match officials but caught on video has been found proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing.
"The Chelsea forward will serve the standard penalty of a three-match suspension with immediate effect."
Arsenal, however, won an appeal against Gabriel's sending-off in the same game. The centre-back was dismissed for kicking out at Costa.
However, the FA announced they have accepted Arsenal's challenge and withdrawn the three-match suspension.
Gabriel still faces a separate charge of improper conduct for his reaction after being shown the red card.
It is understood that Costa had contested the charge and sources state that Chelsea had been worried any punishment might be influenced by the highly public TV coverage.
The club later released a brief statement expressing their dissatisfaction, saying: "We are extremely disappointed with the FA Regulatory Commission's decision. We will await their written reasons before commenting further."