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Official: Emma Hayes to leave Chelsea at the end of the season


Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup Final Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Well, here’s a most shocking and unexpected bit of news for you on a random November Saturday.

Emma Hayes, legendary Chelsea manager, will be leaving the club at the end of the season after twelve years in charge. Twelve years, countless trophies, a decade of dominance at the top of the women’s game in England.

The reason given by Chelsea’s announcement is that Hayes will “pursue a new opportunity outside of the WSL and club football”. It’s unclear if that means an opportunity in international football management (UPDATE: rumors of USWNT beckoning), or an opportunity outside of football altogether (probably unlikely).

There is no statement (yet) from Hayes herself, but it sounds like this was her decision.

“Emma has been one of the biggest drivers of change in women’s football. Her achievements at Chelsea are unrivalled and will live in the club’s history forever. Given everything she has contributed to Chelsea in over a decade with the club, and the legacy she leaves behind, we would never stand in her way when she felt it was the right time to pursue a new challenge.

“We are pleased that she will remain with the club for the remainder of the season to give us the time to identify her successor. There will be plenty of time to celebrate Emma’s many achievements at the club and to give her the farewell she deserves, but for now, as she always has been, Emma will be solely focused on making this season as successful as possible for Chelsea.”

-Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley; source: Chelsea FC

So many questions.

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