'I hope that changes' - Emma Hayes shares 'nasty' observation as Chelsea exit looms

Emma Hayes of Chelsea talks to the media
Emma Hayes of Chelsea talks to the media -Credit:2023 Chelsea FC

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has expressed her concern that the culture of women's football in England is "getting a little nasty" and hopes that online banter seeping into the physical game will be curbed by regulations.

Hayes is set to oversee her final match with the Blues on Saturday, when they head to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United in the season's last Women's Super League fixture, before taking up her new position as the head coach of the USWNT.

This game will mark the end of an illustrious 12-year career with Chelsea, during which she has clinched 13 major trophies, including six league titles. She has been instrumental in establishing Chelsea as one of the powerhouses of English football and elevating the standard of women's football nationwide.

Throughout her time at Chelsea, Hayes has often acted as a guiding force for women's football. In her final press conference on Friday, she took the opportunity to express her worries about the direction the sport is heading.

"I see some of the abuse this year that's been at an extreme level, whether it was (Tottenham goalkeeper) Becky Spencer in the FA Cup final the other day... Lauren James or (fellow Chelsea player) Fran Kirby, whoever. I think there's that part of the game or social media that I don't like. I hope that changes with regulations."

Hayes has expressed her concerns about the dwindling number of female coaches in the WSL. Following her departure and that of Aston Villa's Carla Ward, who is set to leave after their clash with Manchester City on Saturday, the league will see only two female managers next season: West Ham United's Rehanne Skinner and Crystal Palace's Laura Kaminski.

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"I've been an advocate of not just the women's game but how to do the best for women in the game and I still think we're wide of the mark with that," Hayes remarked. "I think there will be declining numbers of female coaches for sure, because of the demands. And if you're a parent, forget about it, unless we have an openness and a willingness to consider different things.

"It's really, really difficult to be a parent and full-time in this industry, which isn't nine to five, it's seven days a week. So I think being open to doing things differently I'd love to see a co-coaching team, females coaching the game, maybe two mums. I think we have to consider those things."

The final match for Hayes at the club is shrouded in suspense. Chelsea are level on points with City and lead only on goal difference, setting up a nail-biting finish to the title race on Saturday.