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Stamford Bridge over troubled waters; Chelsea FC’s employment law blues

Jose Mourinho is once again the talk of the back pages, but this time it’s for all the wrong reasons.

The self-proclaimed ‘special one’ may have landed the Blues in a crisis after a series of highly publicised events that he has been at the centre of. With many pundits speculating that time is ticking for the Chelsea manager despite him being penned to a lucrative contract until 2019.

Mourinho has been charged with misconduct by the Football Association (F.A.) in relation to his behaviour and language used in the recent defeat to West Ham United.


This latest outburst comes in the wake of a £50,000 fine just weeks earlier when Mourinho said that referees were ‘afraid’ to award his team penalties. The latest fine being the seventh time in 10 years that Mourinho has come into conflict with the F.A. with those punishments totalling £181,000:

  • 28 January, 2015 – £25,000: Mourinho fined for comments that there was a ‘campaign’ to influence referees’ decisions against his Chelsea side.
  • 8 May, 2014 – £10,000: Mourinho was fined for comments after Chelsea lost against Sunderland on 19 April. He ‘congratulated’ referee Mike Dean after Chelsea’s defeat.
  • 10 April, 2014 – £8,000: Mourinho was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa. He was dismissed after walking on to the pitch to speak to referee Chris Foy after Ramires was red-carded.
  • 24 October, 2013 – £8,000: Mourinho was fined for “improper conduct” in his side’s Premier League match against Cardiff. He was ordered from the technical area by referee Anthony Taylor after protesting about apparent time-wasting.
  • 10 August, 2005 – £75,000 (reduced from £200,000): Mourinho was fined over his role in the ‘tapping-up’ of Arsenal defender Ashley Cole.
  • 9 June, 2005 – £5,000: Mourinho was charged for comments made after the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester United. Mourinho was unhappy that Sir Alex Ferguson spoke to referee Neale Barry as the teams left the pitch at half-time.

The ‘Sexist One’???

Perhaps the incident that made the most headlines and caused the most controversy was his open criticism of the club’s first team doctor, Eva Carneiro, followed by her ban from being involved in training or match days.

Eva Carneiro and head physiotherapist Jon Fearn were slammed by Mourinho earlier this season for entering the pitch to treat Eden Hazard, who then had to be temporarily sidelined in accordance with the match rules. This left Chelsea with just nine men on the pitch after Thibault Courtois’ earlier dismissal.  They were labelled ‘compulsive and naive’, as well as being described as needing to ‘understand the game’. On top of this, the FA is investigating claims that Mourinho made sexist and abusive comments towards Carneiro.

Legal Issues

The Premier League can often exist in a legal bubble where employment issues are concerned. The media attention on this incident would potentially assist Carneiro to pursue compensation, and in particular a case of constructive unfair dismissal. Carneiro could argue a breach of an implied term of trust and confidence. Carneiro could be awarded up to the £78,335 cap in an Employment Tribunal for a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.

What could make the issue even more serious for Chelsea is the potential case for sex discrimination which would enable Carneiro to claim an uncapped amount of compensation.

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