AFC Wimbledon, or the conjurer of the rumor published by the Daily Express, certainly caused quite the buzz. The idea of a woman coaching in men’s football certainly stirs up a lot of opinions from a lot of people, regardless of whether they watch or care about women’s football in any substantive way. As such, the frenzy around the report made its way to Emma Hayes during her press conference ahead of Chelsea FCW’s League Cup semifinal versus West Ham tomorrow.
Hayes, never one to withhold her true thoughts or shy away from candor, did not disappoint.
“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.”
It is a fair point to raise. Hayes’ job is to combine some of the best talent in the world into a formidable winning machine who dominate matches and win trophies, and that is a universal task, and aim, across top-flight professional football.
“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.
“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.”
The only route to this is for many more people to realize that professional women’s football is professional football. It seems a simple and quite linear concept, but applying it and acting on it still seems to be difficult for fans, front offices, and pundits alike.
Luckily, this is not the case at Chelsea Football Club. When Hayes was asked, rather cheekily, if AFC Wimbledon could afford her, she had a simple two-word answer;
–Emma Hayes; source: The Guardian