Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is well known for being controversial throughout his career, but his latest outburst has left people baffled and annoyed. I fall into the 'annoyed' camp...
During stoppage time in Chelsea's first game of the season, with the match looking like being a draw with Swansea, Eden Hazard went down under a challenge, and rolled around, appearing in agony.
Nothing new there, and the Chelsea doctor and physio ran onto the pitch to treat him. This means that under the rules of the game, Hazard had to leave the pitch. This meant that Chelsea, who had already been reduced to 10 men after a sending off, had to play for a while with only 9 players.
Mourinho was furious, clearly castigating the doctor Eva Carneiro on the sideline.
After the game he said she had been naïve to go onto the pitch because of the 9 player issue, and that staff 'needed to understand the game.' He also said he knew full well Hazard didn't need medical assistance, as he "was just tired."
He could have left the castigation for behind doors, after the match. He could have chosen not to criticise her publicly afterwards, but that's not the way Mourinho operates.
All pretty unpleasant, but it seems all the more unpleasant because Carneiro has since been banned from attending team training sessions, the team hotel, or match day.
She still retains her title as first team doctor, but that can't be sustainable with those restrictions in place. There is talk of her suing the club for constructive dismissal, and it looks like she has a case.
Let's look a bit more at the finer details of the Hazard incident, and then to Carneiro herself...
Medical staff are only allowed onto the pitch in 2 situations - either if the player asks the ref, and the ref agrees, of if the ref calls them on him or herself. Video of the incident seems to show the ref asking Hazard if he wanted the medics, then calling them on. When they didn't go on, he called them again, and it's then that Carneiro and team physic Jon Fearn ran onto the pitch.
The question to be asked is this - what were they supposed to do? Stay sat on the bench? In fact Mourinho has criticised her before, in that case it was for not going on quickly enough, and you can only imagine the uproar if any team's medical staff remained in their seats having been called twice by the ref.
To suggest that their focus should be on a tactical decision to go on or not, rather than to look after the players, is just ludicrous. These are highly qualified medical professionals, and it's not unusual for medical staff of opposing teams to help each other out.
The doctor's football organisations have come out in support of Carneiro, and rightly so in my view. They ask why she is being sanctioned for simply doing her job, and doing it in a professional way.
Carneiro herself is a bit of a role model. It's unusual to see women doctors in football, the whole sport is male dominated, and she has said herself that most of her mail is from women or girls wanting to follow her path. She clearly has a strong character, as much like female commentators, players or officials in football, she has come in for some ferocious sexist abuse from the crowds at times.
Mourinho is not one to back down - he has an ego the size of a planet, and he has the results to back it up. It doesn't look like Carneiro is about to back down either, and I can't see what she's done wrong.
In all the years I've been watching football (over 40 in case you wondered) I have never known a team doctor be torn down for going onto the pitch to treat a player. The fact that it's a doctor who has a profile in the sport because she's blazing a trail for women only helps to fuel the storm, with the press lapping it up.
I think Mourinho has got this one wrong, badly. I'm not sure how it'll be resolved, maybe Carneiro will leave the club, maybe she'll take Chelsea to court, or maybe, since he's done it before, Mourinho will totally throw his toys out of the pram and resign himself.
He's a hard one to figure out, that's for sure, and it certainly seems fair to ask 'hey Jose, what's up Doc?'
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