Campaign group Women in Football (WiF) believe Eva Carneiro’s departure from Chelsea could potentially alienate females looking to work in the game.
Carneiro left her role as first-team doctor with the Premier League champions on Tuesday – the latest stage of the fallout from a row following her on-field treatment of Eden Hazard in Chelsea’s first game of this season against Swansea City.
Manager Jose Mourinho branded Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn “naive” for entering the field to treat Hazard, despite them being waved on by referee Michael Oliver.
Administering treatment to Hazard meant he would have to leave the pitch, momentarily reducing Chelsea to nine men – goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had been sent off – as the hosts closed out a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Carneiro and Fearn were subsequently dismissed from first-team duties and confirmation of the Gibraltar-born doctor’s exit from Stamford Bridge prompted a strong response from WiF, who highlighted the harassment female medical staff such as her already face in the game.
A spokesperson for the organisation, quoted in the Daily Mirror, said: “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.
“She is extremely highly regarded within the medical profession and the football industry. She had already been the target of frequent sexist abuse from opposition supporters.
“We believe that every woman in the football industry has the right to go about their working lives without being targeted with or subjected to abuse.
“We also believe that Dr Carneiro’s treatment and ultimate departure from Chelsea sends out a worrying and alienating message to the already small numbers of female medical staff working in the national game.
“WiF hope that by working with football authorities and clubs we can bring about a greater understanding of the barriers that women in the industry routinely face.”