CROYDON: Jose Mourinho faces a public grilling at an employment tribunal brought by former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro, which opened on Monday after she rejected a £1.2 million offer to settle the case.
The tribunal heard that new Manchester United manager Mourinho is likely to be questioned for at least a day during the case.
Carneiro is claiming constructive dismissal against Chelsea and a connected, personal legal action against Portuguese boss Mourinho, who left the Blues in December, for alleged victimisation and sexual discrimination.
The case at the London South Employment Tribunal in suburban Croydon is expected to take seven to 10 days.
Carneiro alleges she was sexually discriminated against by Chelsea’s then-manager Mourinho shouting “filha da puta” at her — Portuguese for daughter of a whore after she ran on the pitch during a match.
As preliminary matters in the case got under way, an extract from a statement by Mourinho was read out.
In it he claimed he was known for regularly using the term “filho da puta”, meaning son of a whore, and had done so throughout the match in question last August.
A skeleton argument submitted to the tribunal on behalf of Chelsea and Mourinho said Carneiro had been “made an open offer of £1.2 million ($1.73 million, 1.52 million euros) to settle her claims”.
“The respondents have taken these steps only because they believe that it is in no-one’s interests that this dispute should be determined through litigation.”
The argument claimed Carneiro had only made a discrimination claim in order to “lift the statutory cap” and thereby justify her “extravagant compensation claim”.
– Semantic debate –
In Mourinho’s own statement, the manager said: “Filho da puta is a phrase I often use, all of the players know it. There is no sexist connotation in the use of the phrase.
“In the world of football, a lot of swear words are used.”
In her opening argument, Carneiro’s lawyer Mary O’Rourke said Mourinho had used the word filha rather than filho “because he is abusing a woman”.
The expression is “very offensive”, she claimed, and was aimed at Carneiro because she was the “only female pitch-side”.
Portuguese language experts could not agree on what Mourinho actually said during the confrontation, the tribunal heard.
Carneiro, 42, is expected to begin giving two and a half days of evidence from Tuesday.
She attended the tribunal on Monday though Mourinho did not.
Mourinho dropped Carneiro as Chelsea’s first team doctor after the Blues’ opening match of last season in the English Premier League, a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea on August 8.
Mourinho angrily berated her after she and physio Jon Fearn went on the pitch to treat midfielder Eden Hazard, obliging him to leave the field of play before being readmitted.
With Chelsea chasing a victory late in the game, that meant the Blues were temporarily down to nine players — goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois having already been sent off.
The Portuguese boss branded Carneiro and Fearn “impulsive and naive”, saying they failed to understand the match situation.
She did not appear on the bench again for first-team duties and later parted company with Chelsea.
The tribunal was adjourned until 2:00pm (1300 GMT) on Tuesday.