Emma Hayes rejects claims EFL job an upgrade on Chelsea Women

Figcaption Emma Hayes Rejects Claims EFL Job An Upgrade On Chelsea Women
Posted at: Author: Rain TV UK

Emma Hayes labelled as an “insult” suggestions that an EFL job would be a step up from women’s football, after the Chelsea Women manager was linked with the vacancy at AFC Wimbledon.

Hayes said the “world of football needs to wake up and recognise that, while the game is played by a different gender, it is exactly the same sport, and the qualities involved with having to manage that are exactly the same as they would be in a men’s team”.

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The 44-year-old manager said: “I just don’t know why anyone would ever think that women’s football is a step down and that coaching World Cup champions, winners, players that have represented their countries in the Olympics or European championships is a step down from anything.”

No professional men’s team in England have been managed by a woman. Hayes, asked whether AFC Wimbledon could afford her, quipped: “Absolutely not.”

Hayes has won three Women’s Super Leagues, the Spring Series, two FA Cups and one League Cup during nine years as Chelsea manager. Her team are unbeaten at the top of the WSL and in the hunt in the Champions League and both domestic cup competitions. On Wednesday they welcome West Ham to Kingsmeadow in the Continental League Cup semi-finals.

AFC Wimbledon have 22 points from 25 games and are in the League One relegation zone. Glyn Hodges left as manager by mutual consent on Saturday.

“Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Beth England, Magda Eriksson, Millie Bright, Maren Mjelde – do you want me to keep going?” Hayes said, listing some of the top internationals in her squad. “These are world-class players and women’s football is not a step down from anything. Women’s football in its own right is something to celebrate.

“The quality and achievements of all the females I represent, it’s an insult to them and the dedication, the commitment and the quality that they have that we talk about women’s football being a step down. I think that’s what I’m disappointed with, not being linked to a football job as a football coach, regardless of gender.”

Eriksson, Chelsea’s captain, believes Hayes being touted for jobs in the men’s game is a step forward. “I understand that Emma is on the market and people want to grab her – she’s been getting great results with us,” Eriksson said.

“We are a long way from [a woman managing in the EFL]. I think it’s positive that there are rumours at least and the question is out there and it’s being talked about. Of course I hope Emma stays … But we need more diversity in leadership roles on the men’s side.”

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Hayes said: “This is about the football world being in a position where it’s a normal conversation to talk about having coaches from Asian backgrounds, from black backgrounds, and women, in dressing rooms. Not as an exception to the rule, but as something that is normal.

“That process needs to begin and hopefully that affirmative action is something that can be enforced because there’s so many quality candidates that can do a job across the men’s game but we spend too much time talking about gender and ethnicity instead of the quality of candidates.”

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