LONDON • Eva Carneiro is preparing to take legal action against Chelsea after the collapse of talks aimed at securing her return to Stamford Bridge.
The Gibraltar-born doctor has not reported for work at the Premier League club for more than six weeks and all parties have accepted that her departure is inevitable.
She could yet agree to a severance package that would spare both herself and Chelsea the public glare of a court case.
But she has been advised that she has a strong case for constructive dismissal as a result of her treatment by manager Jose Mourinho.
He stripped Carneiro of her first-team duties, which included banning her from the bench, training sessions and the team hotel after accusing her of making a mistake during a 2-2 draw against Swansea City.
In that English Premier League match on Aug 8, she and Jon Fearn, the physiotherapist, had rushed on to the pitch to treat Blues forward Eden Hazard. Mourinho said that move put the club in danger of losing the game with one man short.
Fearn was also demoted from the first team but Mourinho has been accused of singling out Carneiro for personal criticism by referring to her gender after the Swansea game.
She has not been seen at Chelsea since the Swansea game and there appears no prospect of her returning to work.
The 42-year-old was asked to report for duty at the club's Cobham training ground last Friday.
But she opted not to do so as she did not want to be seen to be accepting a demotion.
Chelsea had attempted to bring about a cordial end to the stand-off and even floated the possibility of Carneiro returning to the bench but those talks have come to nothing.
Representatives of the Football Medical Association are understood to have met Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck this week without reaching an agreement.
Fearn had continued to work at Chelsea's training ground throughout the past six weeks despite being taken off match-day duties. It is thought that the club will allow him to return to the bench in the coming weeks, which has increased their resolve to settle the Carneiro issue.
It is unlikely that Fearn will resume first-team duties before the terms of her departure have been finalised, as such a move would strengthen her hand in any potential dismissal claim.
Carneiro has received strong support from many in the football and medical worlds.
Martin Glenn, the FA chief executive, had criticised Mourinho's action and Fifa proposed a code of ethics to govern the relationship between team managers and doctors.
Heather Rabbatts, an FA board member, said on Tuesday that Carneiro's impending exit filled her with "sadness and anger".
THE TIMES, LONDON