Eva Carneiro's Departure From Chelsea Is a Blow For All Women in Sport

Football lost a trailblazer this week and the game will be poorer for it if its treatment of her means she's lost forever.

Dr. Eva Carneiro—a highly respected professional both within and outside of the football industry – left her position as Club Doctor at current Premier League champions Chelsea Football Club on Tuesday, six weeks after an on-pitch incident with first team manager, Jose Mourinho.

Following an altercation which saw Dr Carneiro and her colleague's professionalism called into question, both suffered demotion and public humiliation as they were branded 'naïve' by one of the sport's most recognizable figures, simply for doing their jobs.

Whilst issues surrounding the practice of medical professionals in sport is far from our area of expertise, what we are concerned about is that a woman working in such a high profile sport role has been put in a position where she feels she can no longer continue to work in the industry.

There is a wide and varied pool of talented women actively seeking roles in sport; we want sport to ensure it encourages women to work in sport at all levels, whether it's on the pitch, track or field as an athlete, coach or physio or in the boardroom of a National Governing Body. Unfortunately the incident with Dr. Carneiro will do little to dispel the stereotype that sport is a male-only domain and is a real blow to progress in increasing the visibility of women working in senior sport jobs.

Gender diversity across all organisations—especially in leadership teamsmakes them more effective and sport is no exception. The sector as a whole needs to be more welcoming and supportive of women across all levels of its workforce; at Women in Sport, we work within the industry, applying our insight to offer support and guidance in this area.

Here, we have seen a high profile example of how sport—and football in particular—has failed to retain a senior female professional and lessons need to be learned from Dr. Carneiro's case. But we also know behind the scenes in governance, there is a distinct lack of female representation. A particular focus, as highlighted by the forthcoming launch of our latest audit of gender in sport governance, Trophy Women?, is on the creation of a clearer pipeline to the top.

There has been movement in the right direction towards our call for a minimum of 30% female representation on sport Boards, but perhaps the experience of Dr. Carneiro offers some further insight into why there is still little evidence of a sustainable pipeline of women rising through the ranks.

Women in Sport is a charity that exists to transform sport for every woman and girl in the U.K.. To find out more about their work, visit: www.womeninsport.org