Football: FA may come down hard on coaches who meddle with work of medical staff

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho sidelined team doctor Eva Carneiro, and has been strongly criticised by medical professionals within the sport.
Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho sidelined team doctor Eva Carneiro, and has been strongly criticised by medical professionals within the sport.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - England's Football Association could introduce rules to punish coaches for interfering with medical staff following Chelsea's controversial sidelining of team doctor Eva Carneiro, board member Heather Rabbatts said on Wednesday.

Carneiro left Chelsea after being removed from first-team duties by manager Jose Mourinho. He had rebuked her and physiotherapist Jon Fearn for running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during a 2-2 draw with Swansea City, which temporarily left Chelsea with nine players.

Mourinho's conduct has been strongly criticised by medical professionals within the sport. 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.

"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.

Carneiro, 42, is reported to be considering legal action against Chelsea who have to date refused to comment on the matter.