Football: Demoted Chelsea doctor was merely following rules, says Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (right).
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (right). PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday that Chelsea's first-team doctor had been clearly following the rules in the incident that has reportedly seen her demoted by manager Jose Mourinho.

British press reports claim Mourinho has sidelined Eva Carneiro and physiotherapist Jon Fearn from matches and training sessions, after they angered him by running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard during the latter stages of Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Swansea City last weekend, temporarily reducing his team to nine players.

Mourinho has been strongly criticised over the reports and Wenger said that it was dangerous for a manager to do anything that might damage unity within his club.

"It is a problem inside the club that if you are not united, it is more difficult. It is the trust and unity that makes the strength," the Frenchman, a long-time Mourinho adversary, said during a media conference.

"First of all, I have not followed that, as you know I do not have great interest about what is going on at Chelsea. Secondly, the rules are quite clear that when the referee gives an indication that the medical (staff) can come on, they come on.

"After that what happens specifically in the situation I don't know, but the rules are quite clear. It is the referee who makes the decision."

Fifa's chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak has also spoken out in support of 41-year-old Carneiro, a Chelsea employee since 2009.

"I can't see such a situation and we have to defend the position of the doctor," he told Sky Sports News. "Everyone involved has to respect the fact the doctor is in charge. I don't want to interfere with the club as such, but I would endorse clearly what the team doctor and the physiotherapist did. When they were asked, they had to come on to the pitch."

With Hazard obliged to leave the pitch after receiving treatment and Chelsea already down to 10 men following the dismissal of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Mourinho's team were briefly left with nine players.

Mourinho said that Carneiro and Fearn had been "impulsive and naive" by going on to treat Hazard and said their behaviour showed that they did not "understand the game".

Chelsea have refused to comment on the matter.