Chelsea and Jose Mourinho face the prospect of their dispute with former first-team doctor Eva Carneiro being made public in June – if no agreed settlement can be reached in a private employment tribunal on Monday.
Carneiro is claiming constructive dismissal against Chelsea and has a separate personal legal action against Mourinho, who left the club in December, for alleged victimisation and discrimination.
She was criticised by Mourinho and dropped from first-team duties following the draw with Swansea on the opening day of the Premier League season last August.
All three parties are scheduled to be represented at Croydon Employment Tribunal on Monday in a judicial review hearing, which will be conducted in private.
Any settlement proposed by the judge must be agreeable to Carneiro, Chelsea and Mourinho, otherwise the case would be scheduled to proceed to an employment tribunal which, Press Association Sport understands, would be heard in public in June.
Witness statements and documents – including texts and emails – would likely be made public, while Carneiro, Mourinho and representatives from Chelsea could be called to appear as witnesses.
That could be difficult for Mourinho, who is keen to return to management and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, with Louis van Gaal’s position under scrutiny.
However, there is also the prospect that Chelsea, who have refused to comment on the proceedings, and Mourinho could settle the case at any time.
Carneiro in January appeared at a tribunal hearing for three hours, but no settlement was reached.
The 42-year-old doctor was dropped from first-team duties after then-Chelsea manager Mourinho criticised her and first-team physio Jon Fearn for going on to the pitch to treat Eden Hazard on the opening day of the season.
The action meant that Chelsea were temporarily down to nine men against Swansea, and afterwards Mourinho called Carneiro and Fearn ”impulsive and naive”.
Carneiro did not appear on the bench again for first-team duties and later parted company with the club.
Mourinho was cleared of using discriminatory language towards Carneiro following an investigation by the Football Association.
Afterwards, Carneiro and the FA’s independent board member, Dame Heather Rabbatts, criticised the governing body for not interviewing the doctor as part of its investigation.
Carneiro has also had backing from FIFA’s medical chairman, Michel D’Hooghe, who contacted the doctor to offer his support and that of the world governing body. He has backed Carneiro’s insistence that she was simply doing her job.