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Chelsea FC Women boss Emma Hayes has had an illustrious career since taking over at Chelsea back in 2012 with two League and Women’s FA Cup doubles, as well as winning the title and the League Cup last season.
The 44 year old boasts an incredible 33-match unbeaten record in the Women’s Super League following a 4-0 victory over local rivals Tottenham last weekend.
Reports have been linking her with the AFC Wimbledon job, which would make her the first senior female manager ever in the men’s game.
Hayes has now shut down the rumours linking her to the AFC Wimbledon job and called the reports an “insult” to women’s football. She also maintained that the League One side won’t be able to afford her.
“Women’s football is something to celebrate, and the quality and the achievement of all the females I represent… 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,” Hayes said.
“Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Beth England, Magda Eriksson, Millie Bright, Maren Mjelde – do you want me to keep going? These are world-class players, and women’s football is not a step down from anything.”
Asked if Wimbledon could afford her, Hayes added: “Absolutely not.
“First of all, I am the manager of Chelsea. I manage and represent elite, world-class players and this for me is an amazing job. I’ve spent the last nine years cultivating all my energy into it.
“I’m not looking for another job. I’m blessed with working with wonderful humans day in day out, and I think it’s important for me to say this: when the football world is ready to adhere to the diversity codes, so that BAME communities plus women get the opportunities in men’s football, I will see that as a step forward.
“This is not a conversation about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon. We should be having larger conversations about creating opportunities across a diverse spectrum so that opportunities in the men’s game are not limited to those in privileged positions.
“I don’t know why anyone would think women’s football is a step down [in comparison to men]. The football world needs to wake up. While the game is played by a different gender, it’s exactly the same sport.”