England’s Football Association could introduce rules to punish coaches for interfering with medical staff following Chelsea FC’s controversial sidelining of team doctor Eva Carneiro, board member Heather Rabbatts said on Wednesday.
Carneiro left Chelsea FC after being removed from first-team duties by manager Jose Mourinho, who had rebuked her and physiotherapist Jon Fearn for running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during his side’s 2-2 draw with Swansea City on the Premier League season’s opening day, which temporarily left Chelsea FC with nine players.
Mourinho’s conduct has been strongly criticised by medical professionals within the sport and Rabbatts, the chair of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, suggested that such behaviour could become a disciplinary offence in future.
“I think we have to look within the FA at the processes,” she told the Leaders Sport Business Summit, which was coincidentally taking place at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium in west London.
“The issue of safeguarding players is clearly vitally important. There are a number of concerns out there shared by the Premier League doctors and the association of medical practitioners on this.
“It may well be that we need to think about more effective sanctions if the protocols that are currently in place are breached.
“Maybe we need to think about it being a disciplinary offence if there are any interferences (by coaching staff) between the referee and the medical staff.
“There’s a number of things we need to look at now and reflect on, on how better we can all be across the game when incidents like this happen. I sincerely hope that we see Eva Carneiro back in the game.”
Mourinho said that Carneiro and Fearn had been “impulsive and naive” by going onto the pitch to treat Hazard, but the Premier League Doctors’ Group said failure to do so would have been a breach of their care of duty.
Carneiro, 42, is reported to be considering legal action against Chelsea FC, who have to date refused to comment on the matter.
Mourinho was last week cleared by the FA of making discriminatory remarks to her, but Carneiro subsequently complained that she had not been asked by the FA to make a statement about what had happened.
FA chairman Greg Dyke, meanwhile, has called on Mourinho to apologise to Carneiro, who had been at the club since February 2009.