April 23, 2024

Controversy in England over romantic relationships in women's football: Protest against Hayes – Sports

As with many debates about the professionalism of her sport, Emma Hayes is also at the heart of the current issue in England: love affairs in women's football! Following the recent resignation of Leicester City Women's coach Willie Kirk, who was said to have had an affair with one of his players, Chelsea FC coach Hayes and her Women's Super League (WSL) teammates have come to accept such love. Affairs wondered. In order to protect everyone involved, they have consistently condemned relationships between players and their coaches.

The answer was always the same: such conditions should not be tolerated in all respects. This was clearly expressed by Lauren Smith and Carla Ward, the coaches of Bristol City and Aston Villa. In Smith's view, there can be no 'gray area' when it comes to relationships between coaches, managers and players at the same club. That's why you see this as a “ground for dismissal” for managers who ignore this. Ward agreed, saying: “Yes, 100 percent,” because such relationships represent “a complete abuse of power.”

Hayes also considers private towers of this type to be “completely inappropriate” – but the Chelsea coach added that this also applies, in her discretion, to relationships between players on the same team. She based her view on the challenges associated with the coach: one player was on the team and the other was not; One has an expiring contract, the other does not; Or she fights with her partner for a certain position in the team.

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Hayes has caused quite a stir in England, including within her own team. The English Premier League has many high-profile romantic couples, including Chelsea couple Jessica Carter and Anne-Katrin Berger (German national goalkeeper). Married national team players Magdalena Eriksson and Pernille Harder also played at Chelsea for a long time until they moved to Bayern Munich together in 2023. Carter, 26, immediately put herself, at least indirectly, against her coach's opinion by liking social media posts. The critic. For example, one comment described Hayes' statement as “beyond crazy.”

Problem for players: There is a lack of reporting options when it comes to misconduct

After the harsh backlash, Hayes admitted she had “let herself down” with her choice of words. The 47-year-old explained that it was “not right” to describe relationships between players as inappropriate. “Of course.” I talked to Carter and the other players about it. She does not back down from the view that dealing with love affairs on a team is complicated for a coach. But she doesn't want to criticize anyone for anything.

This distinction is of great importance. Because a lot of people get to know each other at work, including in football. Nothing questionable can be drawn from romantic relationships between team members. Liverpool Women's coach Matt Bird said he did not see “any problems” in this regard. The only thing that is important to him is that the relationship does not affect his work.

However, a clear separation between professional life and private life does not seem possible when it comes to relationships between coaches and players. Conflicts of interest are no less important than imbalances of power. Neither may allow for harmless cooperation – even the consensual nature of the relationship is often difficult to verify. Aston Villa coach Ward said the “biggest problem” for players was the lack of opportunities to report misconduct. She suspects that people “took advantage of certain situations.”

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In the rapidly expanding women's soccer, coaches and managers can have a far-reaching impact on the trajectory of their careers through personnel decisions. That's why he demands The Daily Telegraph A blanket ban on relationships in football once a “power imbalance” occurs. According to the newspaper, there are at least 36 of these questionable relationships across the six women's leagues in England. Ward also calls for clarity: If some people are not taking into account the “unwritten rules” — that is, not entering into coach-player relationships — then those rules should be set “perhaps in black and white.”

To date, romantic relationships between players and coaches are not generally prohibited in English football, unless minors are involved. However, relationships can violate the club's code of conduct, which in turn is a condition for granting a licence. On this basis, Sheffield United sacked its women's coach, Jonathan Morgan. He allegedly entered into a relationship with a 17-year-old player at one of his stops.

Recent developments continue to put pressure on clubs and federations to tighten standards further. Women's football has evolved from “an amateur sport to a professional sport”, emphasizes Emma Hayes, so minimum standards must be put in place to protect female players. At this point it is likely to gain widespread support.