LONDON: Chelsea face a costly and potentially embarrassing legal action after failing to reach agreement over a return to duties of Eva Carneiro, their team doctor.

Carneiro, 42, has decided to leave the club six weeks after she was criticised by manager Jose Mourinho and had her position downgraded following a row during the 2-2 draw against Swansea on August 8.

Chelsea asked her to return to work, but she has decided not to and is now considering her legal position. The Football Association is looking into a complaint that Mourinho used abusive or sexist language towards her.

Mourinho complained after the game that Carneiro should have considered the game situation before obeying a referee’s order to run on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard; Chelsea were a man down already and Hazard’s enforced departure from the pitch would have left them with nine men.

The medical profession – and FIFA medical chiefs – largely supported Carneiro is insisting that her first ethical duty was to the patient not to the club.