Hayes regrets 'inappropriate' comment on relationships between players

Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes has said she let herself down with comments on relationships between players and was wrong to use the term “inappropriate”.

Hayes said in a news conference on Thursday that player-coach relationships should be banned in the Women’s Super League and that player-player relationships were also “inappropriate”.

Chelsea defender Jess Carter, who is in a relationship with team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger, later liked a tweet claiming it was “beyond bonkers to bring player/player relationships into the conversation”.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr announced her engagement to West Ham’s American midfielder Kristie Mewis last year.

After Chelsea’s WSL win against Arsenal on Friday night, Hayes, who has won six WSL titles since taking charge in 2012, said she regretted her comments.

Ann-Katrin Berger (L) and Jess Carter of Chelsea are in a relationship
Ann-Katrin Berger (L) and Jess Carter of Chelsea are in a relationship

Hayes said: “Of course Jess and I have had a conversation about that. I’m supposed to be the most non-clickbait coach and so I let myself down yesterday.

“I don’t think it was right for me to use the term inappropriate for the players.

“When I have honest conversations I don’t take things back but I have zero criticism of any player in my dressing room for anything regarding their status or who they’re in a relationship with.”

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Highlights from the Women’s Super League match between Chelsea and Arsenal.

On Thursday, Aston Villa boss Carla Ward said a manager should be sacked for having a relationship with a player, calling it a “complete abuse of power”.

Hayes was one of several other WSL head coaches who claimed coach-player relationships should not be allowed.

When asked if a ban should be part of a wider WSL code of conduct, Hayes said: “Yeah, I think so. There are challenges that we should be moving past.”

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