To be downgraded—an euphemism for ‘fired’—for simply doing your job on the field is egregious enough.
To be completely ignored during a so-called ‘investigation’ into the incident that led to your demotion is simply adding insult to injury.
Eva Carneiro must be wondering what hit her when the wrath of Jose Mourinho in all its ‘special’ splendor erupted on her when she treated Eden Hazard during a Chelsea game a couple of months ago.
She was labelled ‘naive’ then by the club boss; she must certainly feel that way now that she’s no longer part of the club.
Carneiro refused to accept a shunting to the backstage preferring to tender her resignation instead.
The medic is also considering legal action against her erstwhile employers.
Mourinho is alleged to have called the doctor a ‘filha da puta (daughter of a whore)’.
The allegations were denied by the ‘Special One’. He said he had actually yelled ‘filho da puta’ (son of a bitch)’.
The Chelsea honcho has since been let off by the testimony of a Portuguese lip-reader.
Carrneiro was scathing in her response:
“I was surprised to learn that the FA was allegedly investigating the incident of 8th of August via the press. I was at no stage requested by the FA to make a statement.
I wonder whether this might be the only formal investigation in this country where the evidence of the individuals involved in the incident was not considered relevant. Choosing to ignore some of the evidence will surely influence the outcome of the findings.
Last season I had a similar experience at a game at West Ham FC, where I was subject to verbal abuse. Following complaints by the public, the FA produced a communication to the press saying there had been no sexist chanting during this game. At no time was I approached for a statement despite the fact that vile, unacceptable, sexually explicit abuse was clearly heard.
It is incidents such as these and the lack of support from the football authorities that make it so difficult for women in the game.”
Football Association board member Heather Rabbatt was sympathetic to Carneiro’s cause despite Mourinho being cleared of the charge of discriminatory comments by the FA’s investigating committee.
The FA, in a released statement, claimed that they were “satisfied that the words used do not constitute discriminatory language under FA Rules.”
“Furthermore, both the words used… and the video evidence, do not support the conclusion that the words were directed at any person in particular. Consequently…the FA will take no further action in relation to this matter.”
Women In Football were not so conciliatory.
“We believe it is appalling that her professionalism and understanding of football were subsequently called into question by manager Jose Mourinho and it threatened to undermine her professional reputation.
We also believe that Dr Carneiro’s treatment and ultimate departure from Chelsea FC sends out a worrying and alienating message to the already small numbers of female medical staff working in the national game.”
Rabbatts, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said:
“I have spoken to her in the last few days. She felt she had support and it’s very important; as you can imagine this is a terrible time for her.
Up until 8 August she was one of the most highly respected medics in her profession and at the moment she is out of the game she’s loved. I hope, with all of us learning lessons around these issues, that she will come back to the game in future.
I can’t go into what her ambitions and aspirations are but I know how much she loved her job and cares for the players. Becoming a highly-qualified doctor takes years of training, she was years at Chelsea, and I’m sure she doesn’t want to be lost to the game.
And we don’t want to lose her from the game. There are so few women in these professions that when people like her leave the game, it’s a real loss to so many other women and girls who aspire to play a role.
As I said in my statement, I was disappointed by how it was handled and I hope there are lessons for the future in how these very significant issues that affect the whole game are tackled.
There is something broader here. There must be really enforceable guidance so that no medic feels there can be any interference when they are called onto the field of play.
Remember, Dr Eva Carneiro did nothing wrong – in fact, if she had not gone onto the field of play, she would have been in breach of her own [General Medical Council] guidance.
We love the game for the strong passions but when that tips over into abusing somebody, ridiculing them, referencing them as a ‘secretary’, I do not believe that’s acceptable.”
Rabbatts’ publicly aired opinion triggered a response from FA chairman Greg Dyke.
Writing to the FA Council members, Dyke said:
“There have been some well-documented issues of late around equality and inclusion in the game, an issue where it is vital we continue to show clear leadership.
I felt the handling of the case of the Chelsea doctor, Eva Carneiro, was a good example of this. We supported Heather Rabbatts’ strong statement on the matter earlier in the month.
Personally I don’t think Mr Mourinho comes well out of the whole saga – he clearly made a mistake in the heat of a game, and should have said so and apologised.
Instead he has said very little and Miss Carneiro has lost her job.
Our regulatory team have investigated this and whilst Mr Mourinho has breached no rules it was clearly a failure of his personal judgement and public behaviour. This should be seen as such by the game.”
The FA, on their part, claim that they contacted Carneiro’s lawyers for a statement. Carneiro was still with Chelsea at the time.
FA chief executive Martin Glenn said:
“We have never received any information or complaint from Dr Carneiro.
Including in written correspondence with her lawyers, it has been made explicitly clear that if Dr Carneiro had evidence to provide or wished to make a complaint she was more than welcome to do so. That route remains open.”
Mourinho was uncharacteristically reticent at his weekly press conference.
“For the past two months I didn’t open my mouth and I’m going to keep it like this. One day I will speak and I will choose a day.
I’m quiet about it for a long time. I read and I listen and I watch and I’m quiet. My time to speak will arrive when I decide.”