The hypocrisy of Jose Mourinho defies belief so spectacularly that you wonder if this might actually be the moment when someone takes the man aside, discreetly makes the point and encourages something as improbable as contrition over his treatment of Eva Carneiro.
Everyone was tip-toeing around the issue, as if aware that to challenge such an individual as this risked a Vesuvian response; that it might perhaps bring a fulminating Mourinho marching into a TV studio, condemning the dissenters to the indignity of an entire day with their name up in lights on the Sky Sports ticker.
Your correspondent’s enquiries to the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine brought the disclosure that someone was looking at producing an “official comment” on what the Chelsea team doctor had been submitted to, for operating in the line of professional duty. It did not materialise. Kelly Simmons, the Football Association’s director of National Game and Women’s Football, was reticent, too. She agreed with me that Carneiro had been an excellent role model for young women. But there was no more. “I’m not close to it,” Simmons said. “I’ve only seen headlines… 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…”
That wish appears a forlorn one, judging by what prospective football medics – male or female – now know about what can befall them at the hands of a capricious manager. If a player falls to ground in a game’s late stages, we have to assume that medical staff may think twice about taking the field. Running against their own ethical code is the football code, scrambled beyond belief once again, just a solitary five days into a new Premier League season.
Football actually seemed to have advanced well beyond that kind of medical dilemma. The pace and physicality of the Premier League, taken with such horrors as the near death of Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba on the turf of White Hart Lane three years ago, had made this a realm in which no risks were taken and no action spared in the name of medical safety.
It was none other than Mourinho, nine years ago, who railed against football for failing one of his own – Petr Cech – after he sustained a fractured skull against Reading at the Madejski Stadium. He made the extraordinary claim that the goalkeeper could have died because of delays in treatment by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and Reading Football Club. He claimed 30 minutes elapsed between Chelsea’s then doctor, Bryan English, calling for an ambulance and Cech being picked up and taken to the Royal Berkshire hospital.
“If my goalkeeper dies in that dressing room because of that process it is something for English football to think about,” Mourinho said at the time. And now he complains when his own medical staff attend his own player too quickly. Let us remember that it was because of what Cech experienced that Carneiro was in the place from which Mourinho has now excluded her. Measures introduced after the goalkeeper’s injury included the compulsory presence of a doctor on the bench, an ambulance for the exclusive use of players at all stadiums and paramedics stationed pitchside.
The Professional Footballers’ Association shied away from a direct attack on Mourinho. No names were named in its own official response. But the union said enough to reflect the collective players’ view. “The player and the referee are the initial judges as to whether treatment is required and, the matter is then the responsibility of the highly qualified and trained medical staff.”
To retransmit that message on social media was to appreciate how Mourinho is viewed by his own, this time. Not a solitary negative comment. The territory he has casually chosen to occupy has the potential to harm one of those expensive players whom he can afford to love or dispose of with impunity. His actions demand an apology from Chelsea and an intervention from the Premier League, though football being football, we may be waiting a very long time for either.Reuse content