Eva Carneiro latest: Jose Mourinho widely criticised, Chelsea manager's behaviour branded 'appalling'

Fellow medics come out in force after Chelsea doctor is  stripped of her first team duties

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho faced wide-ranging criticism today for his decision to remove matchday duties from Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro, whose treatment was described by her fellow Premier League medics as “unjust in the extreme”.

It emerged yesterday that Carneiro and the club’s head physiotherapist Jon Fearn were twice beckoned onto the pitch by referee Michael Oliver in the moments after Eden Hazard went down with an apparent injury following a challenge by Gylfi Sigurdsson in Saturday’s game. Under General Medical Council guidelines for doctors, the pair would have had no choice but to attend to the player, regardless of Mourinho’s wishes.

The footage of Oliver waving the two on during the closing stages of the match against Swansea at Stamford Bridge is a powerful piece of evidence in Carneiro’s favour. Her future at Chelsea is unclear with the club having removed her from all frontline duties and restricted her to the medical centre within their Cobham training ground.

In the meantime she received the full support of her fellow Premier League doctors who broke with precedent to release a hard-hitting statement in support of the Gibraltar-born Chelsea doctor. Under the auspices of West Bromwich Albion’s director of performance Dr Mark Gillett, the Premier League doctors’ group described Carneiro’s treatment as “unjust in the extreme”.


The doctors’ group said that it “considers that removing Dr Eva Carneiro from the Chelsea team bench for their next match is unjust in the extreme. In the publicised incident in Saturday’s game against Swansea, the Chelsea medical staff were clearly summoned on to 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.

“Dr Carneiro has universal and total support from her medical colleagues at the Premier League doctors’ group. It is also of great concern that at a time when the both the Premier League and the Premier League doctors’ group are intensifying efforts to safeguard player welfare, the precedent set by this incident demonstrates that the medical care of players appears to be secondary to the result of the game.”

Eden Hazard recieves treatment from medics during Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Swansea


The statement pointed out that Premier League doctors are bound by the same GMC guidelines on “safety and quality”, which advise that they are obliged to “take prompt action if you think that patient safety, dignity or comfort is being compromised”. As medical care providers, Carneiro and Fearn are required to put the principles of the GMC above the wishes of their employer.

The doctors’ group said that its members worked within the same “professional and ethical boundaries” as any other doctor. “Maintenance of the duty of care from the doctor to the patient is fundamental to these guidelines, even when the patient is a footballer playing in a Premier League game.”

There have been GMC punishments in the past for sports medics who have failed to maintain the standards expected. In rugby union’s “Bloodgate” scandal of 2009, the Harlequins club doctor Wendy Chapman was suspended by the GMC for cutting the lip of winger Tom Williams during a Heineken Cup to disguise his use of a fake blood capsule which allowed his team to make a tactical substitution.          

Harlequins’ Tom Williams during 2009’s Bloodgate scandal


Mourinho reacted furiously to his medical team treating Hazard and thus necessitating the player’s withdrawal for the next phase of the game. He criticised Carneiro and Fearn afterwards for being “impulsive and naive” and failing to “understand the game”. The situation escalated on Tuesday when, after a Facebook post thanking people for theit support, Carneiro was told she would no longer serve as the matchday doctor, nor would she travel with the team or even work with them during training sessions on the pitches at Cobham.

The referee is obliged to ask a grounded player whether he wants medical treatment. The referee can make his own mind up if he feels that the player is either incapable of responding or had not understood the question. Peter Brukner, formerly Liverpool’s head of medicine and now the Australia cricket team doctor, said that Mourinho’s behaviour had been “appalling”.

Jose Mourinho lost his cool as the Chelsea medical team ran on the pitch to attend to Hazard (Getty)


Brukner told Talk Sport radio: “What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on? Maybe he should be criticising his player for staying down, rather than the medical staff.

"The medical staff were only responding to the referee's instruction to come and treat the player, who was on the ground. So then to criticise the medical staff publicly in the way that he did was absolutely appalling behaviour. The medical staff deserve a public apology and I'm very disappointed that the club hasn't come out and done something to support them - they were just doing their job.”