• Chelsea caretaker head coach told FA she wants gender equality • Hayes says playing fields should be ‘packed with girls’
Chelsea’s caretaker head coach Emma Hayes has admitted she would be happy if the Football Association banned boys’ football in favour of all-female teams.
Hayes wrote to the FA earlier this year to raise her concerns about the lack of female referees in England. She called for all-female teams instead.
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Hayes, who is in charge of Chelsea’s B team, said of the FA: “I do want to see a change in football, but I would also want the same thing for women. I do want gender equality. I absolutely love my work but this is a human being issue and one that has to be addressed.
“I wrote the letter because in the same way you need to have gender equality on the pitch, you also need gender equality at home. We need equality and equal opportunities. The playing fields need to be packed with girls. That is the whole thing.”
Hayes, who is in charge of Chelsea’s B team, believes more girls would be involved in football if playing fields were open to them. “As you get older you want to play in a club and people say to you, ‘You’ll never make it’, and that’s what I say about the players,” she added.
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“Why are there not 200,000 girls out kicking a ball, and think about just how far they have come in the last few years.”
She has created a league for women over 18 who either have professional or semi-professional experience or come from a working-class background. Hayes says 40% of her players are women who would not usually be involved in women’s football and that she would not have opened the B team up if it did not have a community role.
She added: “When we started out there was one lass, a great British punter, and the team had six or seven lasses. They came to me and said they didn’t want to be bums on seats.”
On Sunday Hayes’s Chelsea side were among the first teams in the country to wear skirts ahead of Women’s Super League One matches, with Hayes saying her “main concern” at Chelsea was to ensure all the women on the pitch were performing at their best.