Former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has revealed that she did indeed receive sordid death threats, after her departure from the South West London club. The 43-year-old, who left the SW6 in 2015, after public criticism from ex-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, believes that not enough is being done to tackle sexism in football.
The Gibraltar-born British sports medicine specialist was the subject of criticism from Mourinho after the first game of the 2015-16 season. Chelsea, who were playing Swansea City at Stamford Bridge, were to begin their title defence with a dismal draw, that also saw goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois sent off.
According to Portuguese manager, Jose Mourinho, the doctor ran onto the pitch to attend to Eden Hazard, when he felt the injury was not of a serious nature. However, in lieu with the laws of the game, the physios (Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn) were called onto the field by referee Michael Oliver, and they had complete permission to attend to a player who could be injured.
Carneiro's view has been fully supported by FIFA's medical chairman Michel D'Hooghe. Rumours flew around, as both the physios were then absent in the following fixture against title-rivals ManchesterCity.
Carneiro has also reached a discrimination settlement with Mourinho, as her former club apologised for the distress caused to the former first-team doctor. Despite leaving the club in September 2015, she has been a victim of constant cyberbullying and abuse.
“Even though I don’t have a presence on social media – I think I have made one post ever in my life – some of the threats of sexual violence and death threats make it through,” Carneiro told the Telegraph. “They [the abusers] just seem to be faceless cowards and they should be answerable to legislation.”
The doctor firmly believes that the issue of sexism in football is taken too lightly. “It is one thing to say, ‘We will end discrimination’ and I think it is widely accepted that discrimination exists in the sport,” she said.
“I think sexism is the least challenged form of discrimination. Anti-Semitic and other racist comments are widely condemned and I don’t think that is the case [with sexism] and it begs the question what that leaves room for behind the scenes. It is widely accepted that football has a discrimination problem. I really do feel that way, but I think it is the least challenged form of discrimination.”
“Growing up I didn’t think it [gender inequality] was going to be a problem. It never even occurred to me there would be differences in what we could achieve, or what we were told we could achieve, by being girls or boys. At university more than 50% of the intake in medical school is female, so a female doctor wanting to do anything from trauma surgery to working in the military is not surprising.
“As I sought specialist training in certain sports, male colleagues found that quite surprising. There was very much a dialogue of bringing attention to my gender or objectifying me in some way. They described that as a limit to my career progression in that direction, which I was stunned by. It was a dialogue more appropriate for the 1950s.”