Chelsea Women boss Emma Hayes has shut down rumours linking her to the AFC Wimbledon job and wants to stay with the Women’s Super League leaders.
The Sky Bet League One side parted company with manager Glyn Hodges and his assistant Nick Daws by mutual consent following Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to fierce rivals MK Dons at Plough Lane, which left them 21st in the 24-team table after 25 games.
Hayes had been linked with the vacancy – which would see her become the first woman to manage a professional men’s team in English football – but speaking on Tuesday, she insisted she is happy at Chelsea, where she has won three WSL titles and two Women’s FA Cups in eight-and-a-half-years at the helm.
Asked directly about the AFC Wimbledon rumours, Hayes said: “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.”
Asked if she thought the AFC Wimbledon rumours were patronising or not, Hayes added: “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.”