In Depth

Chelsea lose Costa for three games as Carneiro prepares to sue

Blues' problems start mounting again as striker is banned and belittled doctor plans legal action over Mourinho treatment row

Just when it seemed Chelsea had turned the corner, thanks to victories in the Champions League and over London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League, the Blues find themselves back in the headlines for the wrong reasons, after striker Diego Costa was hit with a three-match ban and it emerged that club doctor Eva Carneiro is preparing to sue the Premier League champions for constructive dismissal.

Costa was hit with the ban after the FA upheld a charge of violent conduct against the player, brought after the game against Arsenal on Saturday.

Costa was shown a yellow card during the match, but the ban relates to an earlier fracas in which Costa struck Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny three times. It was that incident which led to the sending off of Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista, after he became involved in the altercation.

It will be scant consolation for Arsenal, given their 2-0 defeat in the match, but Gabriel's red card was riscinded, after video evidence showed that his apparent kick at Costa did not make contact with the Chelsea player.

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is "likely to interpret the decision as evidence of bias against his combative striker after personally authorising the appeal", reports The Times.

Although it will have little consequence on the field, the decision of slighted club doctor Carneiro to quit the club could turn out to be more damaging in the long term.

Carneiro was expected to return to work on Friday, six weeks after the touchline altercation with Mourinho following an injury to Eden Hazard on the opening day of the season. However, she did not attend the Chelsea training ground and, according to The Guardian, is "believed to have left her job and is preparing to sue the Premier League champions for constructive dismissal".

The 42-year-old was abused and publicly criticised by Mourinho for running onto the pitch to treat Hazard at the behest of the player and referee in the closing stages of the game against Swansea, and the incident led to Carneiro being suspended by the club and caused a storm of bad publicity for the Blues.

"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," reports The Times.

According to the Daily Telegraph: "There is sympathy towards the treatment of Carneiro with senior figures at Chelsea uncomfortable with the case and how it reflects on the club. Carneiro is understood to have sought legal advice from the high-profile law firm Mischon de Reya over the last few weeks since the incident and it has been argued by lawyers that she may well have a strong case for constructive dismissal."

Mourinho's "heavy-handed actions" have been condemned by Fifa and the medical community, adds the paper.

Heather Rabbatts, chair of the Football Association's Inclusion Advisory Board, said she felt "sadness and anger" over the situation.

"Eva was one of the few very senior women in the game, a highly respected doctor who has acted with professional integrity in difficult circumstances and whose skills have been highly praised by her colleagues, the club and governing bodies," she said.

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