Emma Hayes: Chelsea manager says women’s football is ‘not a step down’ from men’s game

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says the notion that women’s football is a step down from the men’s game is “an insult”.

The 44-year-old, who has led the Blues to three Women’s Super League titles, has been linked with the vacant role at men’s League One side AFC Wimbledon.

But Hayes said she is “not looking for another job” and that the Dons could “absolutely not” afford her anyway.

“The football world needs to recognise, while the game is played by a different gender, it’s the same sport,” she said.

“The qualities involved with having to manage are exactly the same as it would be for a men’s team. We are talking about human beings.

“There’s so many quality candidates that can do the job across the men’s game. We spend too much time talking about gender and ethnicity instead of quality of candidates.”

Hayes, who has also won two Women’s FA Cups with Chelsea, has not seen her international-laden squad lose a league game in more than two years.

AFC Wimbledon, meanwhile, are looking for a new boss after Glyn Hodges left on Saturday, with the club dropping into the relegation zone after losing nine and drawing the other two of their past 11 League One matches.

“Women’s football is something to celebrate, and the quality and the achievements of all the females I represent,” said Hayes. “It’s an insult to them that we talk about women’s football being a step down, with the dedication and the commitment and the quality they have.

“That’s what I’m disappointed with, not being linked to a football job.

“When the football world is ready to adhere to the diversity codes so that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities, plus women, get the opportunities in football then I’ll see that as a step forward.

“This is not a conversation about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon, but we should be having larger conversations about creating opportunities across the diverse spectrum so that opportunities in the men’s game are not limited to those in the privileged positions.”

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