FIFA’s medical commission will this week discuss Jose Mourinho’s battle with Chelsea club doctor Eva Carneiro amid growing pressure for a settlement by the English Premier League Champions.
Mourinho has refused to back down from criticism of Carneiro and head physio Jon Fearn after they went on the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in the 2-2 home draw with Swansea last month.
They have since been excluded from the team bench by Mourinho and have consulted lawyers.
Carneiro and Fearn’s medical intervention – called on by Hazard and the referee – reduced Chelsea to nine players as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had already been sent off. An angry Mourinho called it “impulsive and naive.”
FIFA’s top medical experts have already backed Carneiro and FIFA’s medical commission is expected to issue a statement backing the Chelsea doctor after a meeting on Friday.
“You would expect me to support the team doctor,” said medical commission chairman Michel D’Hooghe, a longstanding FIFA executive member, when he announced it would be discussed.
Mary O’Rourke, one of Britain’s top medical lawyers who has been involved in landmark cases on football injuries, said FIFA would back the 41-year-old Carneiro.
“It is an important point of principle,” she said on the sidelines of the Soccerex convention in Manchester.
“I would like to see the message go round the world — and I think you will see FIFA on Friday saying the same — they did nothing wrong because their duty was to the player as a patient, their duty was to the referee,” O’Rourke said.
“Their job in the club is to look after the players, and not to run the team and not to be tactically aware.”
O’Rourke said clubs have to be even more wary of injuries after the Petr Cech case at Chelsea and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’s recent concussion.
But the leading barrister said there were signs that a settlement is being discussed without the need for court proceedings by Carneiro or an apology by Mourinho.
“I don’t think you need to say that Mourinho has to apologize. I think you get the message out there if you have the pair of them back out there on the bench.
“We don’t need to start making people eat humble pie or anything. It is a recognition that they did nothing wrong.”
O’Rourke said the referee had to call on a doctor after Hazard signaled his injury. She said that in rugby union, referees have been sued for not bringing on medical assistance.
The lawyer said Mourinho’s comments had were “heat of the moment” after a game that Chelsea should have won and had “not been thought through.”
“As much as one understands the passion of the manager or a coach, or their needs, you have to at the end of the day prioritize the player, because apart from anything else if the player sues he is not suing the manager he is suing the doctor and the physio.”
O’Rourke said there were signs that Chelsea wanted to “mend” its relationship with the doctor.
“Some situations are not mendable. This one may not be.
“You should take something from it that Chelsea have said nothing and that Eva Carneiro has said nothing — there may well be a will to see if this situation can be mended.”
O’Rourke, who has written widely about football injury cases, said it was disappointing that the Football Association and Premier League have not spoken about the case. But she said it could be a sign that both are in contact with Chelsea.