Hayes sorry for same-team relationship comments


Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has said she let herself down by calling intrasquad player relationships “inappropriate” and added that she will no longer be providing “clickbait headlines.”

Hayes, who takes over as coach of the U.S. women’s national team in June, expressed her disapproval of romantic relationships between players on the same team Thursday, adding that it would be “ideal” if she didn’t have to deal with them.

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Hayes’ comments seemingly didn’t go down well with Chelsea defender Jess Carter, who is in a relationship with her teammate Ann-Katrin Berger. The England international liked a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter) criticising Hayes for her views.

When asked about Carter’s reaction in the aftermath of Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Women’s Super League on Friday, Hayes took the opportunity to apologise for her remarks but didn’t backtrack from them.

“I want to be clear to everybody in the room, I don’t want to create any more clickbait headlines for you guys. I think sometimes that becomes the case when we have honest conversations about things,” Hayes said at a news conference.

“Of course, I’m disappointed about that, of course Jess and I have had a conversation today as I have with other players in the team.

“They know exactly who I am and what my intentions were. But I have to expect that — I’m supposed to be the most well-trained, non-clickbait coach and I let myself down yesterday. I didn’t think it was right for me to use the term ‘inappropriate’ for the players.

“I don’t take those things back, but I have zero criticism for any player in my dressing room for anything — their professionalism regardless of their status, regardless of who they are in a relationship. I’ve been unbelievably supportive of all of the players, I’ve been a champion for equality and equity.”

Hayes pointed to the dominance her side showed in their win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge as a sign of the unity that continues to exist in the Chelsea squad.

“I do want to say I have an unbelievable dressing room and you saw tonight from everyone, that they were extremely focused on the things that matter. And, as I keep saying to our players all the time, even if we have disagreements in life, we mustn’t play them out publicly,” Hayes said.

“We must have them conversations with each other but it’s an important thing you must do in a workplace and everybody understands and I think you saw from the performance tonight that everybody is absolutely invested in what we are doing.

“Tremendous performance from everyone, including Jess.”



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