LONDON • Eva Carneiro received several indirect messages of support from Chelsea's players before she attended a tribunal hearing yesterday regarding her constructive dismissal case against the club.
Wearing a long, grey coat and holding hands with her husband, the former Chelsea team doctor made no comment as she arrived for the hearing flanked by her legal team in Croydon, south London.
The preliminary hearing at London South Employment Tribunal is being held in private before an employment judge and will outline the time-table for the case.
Carneiro, 42, left Chelsea in September after being removed from first-team duties by manager Jose Mourinho, who was sacked by the Blues last month.
Mourinho 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 season's opening day.
The Portuguese called Carneiro and Fearn "impulsive and naive", but the Premier League Doctors' Group said that failure to treat Hazard would have been a breach of their care of duty.
Yesterday's hearing will also address witness statements and the disclosure of documents from each side, as well as any legal disputes that may exist between them over procedural matters.
Reports suggest a date for a full hearing could be fixed for June, but the parties may agree to a settlement before the case is heard.
Carneiro is also believed to have tabled a separate legal claim against Mourinho for alleged victimisation and discrimination.
Mourinho was cleared by the Football Association of making discriminatory remarks to Carneiro, but she complained that she had not been asked to make a statement about what had happened.
Many of Chelsea's players are sympathetic towards her claim and feel she was harshly treated. But despite offering support through intermediaries, Carneiro's allies have refrained from making personal contact because of their contractual obligations towards the club.
She was particularly close to several of Chelsea's Spanish players, although her lawyers have no plans to call any of them to give evidence on her behalf.
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE