Football Association (FA) board member Heather Rabbatts has outlined her “sadness and anger” at Eva Carneiro’s departure from Chelsea.
Carneiro left her role as the Premier League champions’ first-team doctor on Tuesday following the row that followed her on-field treatment of Eden Hazard in the Blues’ clash with Swansea City.
Carneiro earned the wrath of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after administering treatment to the Belgium international late in the game on the opening weekend of the season.
Mourinho was angry Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn – he labelled the pair “naive” afterwards – went on the Stamford Bridge pitch, despite being waved on by referee Michael Oliver, as it meant Hazard would have to come off with the home side desperately protecting a 2-2 draw with 10 men.
Rabbatts, the chair of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board, said in a statement: “News of Dr Eva Carneiro’s departure from Chelsea FC makes me feel sadness and anger.
“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.
“On August 8, Eva fulfilled her duty as the senior medic and responded to the referee to enter the field of play to treat a player. Any other response would have been a dereliction of her duty and a breach of GMC [General Medical Council] guidelines as confirmed recently by the organisation of Premier League doctors.
“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. In addition, as Chair of the Inclusion Advisory Board, I have a responsibility to support women in the game and Eva has been a role model for many girls and women who aspire to work in football. Her treatment sends all the wrong messages.
“The footage of the abuse she has endured in silence from the stands during her career is something we should all be ashamed of.
“Being passionate about the game is also about standing up against abusive chanting, bullying and insults to a fellow professional.”
Gibraltar-born Carneiro saw her position downgraded and was not on the bench for Chelsea’s game at Manchester City a week after the Swansea clash. She has not appeared in subsequent matches either.
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) was quick to back Carneiro while leading sports scientist Peter Brukner described Mourinho’s behaviour as “appalling”.
He told talkSPORT: “I thought it was appalling behaviour by the manager.
“He has a player who has gone down, who has remained down and the referee obviously considered it serious enough to summon on the doctor and the physio.
“They went on as they must do when they are summoned on and the player is down, and as a result the player had to come off the ground.
“What do you expect the doctor to do? Just ignore the referee beckoning them on?”
Mourinho is also the subject of an FA investigation after a member of the public complained about the language used by the Portuguese towards Carneiro at the time of the incident.
“As a member of the Board of the FA, I can make no comment on the FA investigation currently underway and this is rightly a matter for the regulation team,” added Rabbatts.
“However I believe that all those who have an interest in these issues and who have a duty to safeguard relevant policies and procedures raise their voice in support of Eva and question how she has been treated.
“I hope that Eva’s own situation can be resolved quickly and positively, that she will be able to continue to work in a senior position within the game and that steps are taken to ensure that professional integrity is protected and women are properly encouraged to be a part of our national game, including at elite level.”
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