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‘I’m not looking for another job’ – Chelsea boss Hayes rejects links to work at Ligue 1 club AFC Wimbledon

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Ahead of the Blues’ Conti Cup semi-final, reports suggested the three-time Women’s Super League champion was on the Dons shortlist

Chelsea coach Emma Hayes believes more conversations are needed about diversity in football after reports emerged linking her to work at League 1 club AFC Wimbledon.

There has never been a women’s head coach in the professional men’s game in England and Hayes certainly won’t become the first to move up to the men’s third level, with her making it clear: “I’m not looking for another job. “

As she faced the media ahead of Chelsea’s Continental Cup semi-final against West Ham on Wednesday night, Hayes used the attention to speculation as an opportunity to highlight the issue of diversity in football.

“When the football world is ready to adhere to the codes of diversity, so that BAME communities (black, Asian and ethnic minority), as well as women, have opportunities in football, then I will see this as a step forward. before, ”she said. journalists Tuesday afternoon.

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

“My privilege is what I do for Chelsea and I have a strong focus on what we do tomorrow night against West Ham.”

There have been cases of male coaches moving from the women’s to the men’s game, with former England head coach Phil Neville joining Inter Miami being a particularly recent example, but seldom have female coaches doing the same.

When asked if she believed the suggestion of stepping down from her role with Chelsea, who was crowned Women’s Super League champions last season, to take a job with Wimbledon, which is in the relegation zone of Ligue 1, was condescending, Hayes said: “I just don’t know why anyone would think that women’s football is a step backwards.

“If coaching World Cup champions, winners, players who have represented their country at the Olympics or at the Euro is a step backwards from everything, I think the football world needs to wake up and recognize that [women’s football] – while the game is played by a different gender – is exactly the same sport.

“The qualities of having to manage this are exactly the same as for a men’s team. We are talking about human beings here. But I think unfortunately the football world has to live up to its promises and by the codes of diversity and be able to promote opportunities for the less privileged, that’s what I want.

“It’s not about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon. It is about the fact that the football world is in a position where it is normal to talk about coaches of Asian origin, black origin, women, in the locker room – not as an exception to the rule but like something normal.

“This process has to start and we hope affirmative action is something that can be applied because there are so many good candidates who can get the job done in the men’s game. I think we take too long talking about gender and ethnicity rather than quality. candidates.

“Women’s football is not a withdrawal from anything. Women’s football in its [own] law is something to celebrate and the quality and achievements of all the women I represent, it is an insult to them that we are talking about women’s football as a withdrawal [with] the dedication, commitment and quality they have.

“I think that’s what disappoints me, not to be tied to a soccer job as a soccer coach, regardless of gender. But as you can see I’m happy at Chelsea and I love my job here and always have been. clear about it. Nothing has changed. “