‘I let myself down’ – Hayes on relationship comments

Emma Hayes and Jess Carter

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says she let herself down with comments about relationships between players.

In a news conference on Thursday, she said player-coach relationships and player-to-player relationships are “inappropriate” and hard for coaches to navigate.

Speaking after Chelsea’s Women’s Super League win over Arsenal on Friday, Hayes said she regretted her comments.

“I let myself down yesterday,” she said.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to use the term inappropriate for the players,” added Hayes.

Leicester City boss Willie Kirk is being investigated by the club following an allegation of a player-coach relationship.

It is understood a complaint has been lodged with the club about an alleged current relationship between Kirk and a player. BBC Sport has approached Kirk for comment regarding the allegation.

Following Hayes’ comments, Chelsea defender Jess Carter liked a post on X saying it was “beyond bonkers” to bring player-to-player relationships into the conversation.

England international Carter is in a relationship with Chelsea team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger, while Blues striker Sam Kerr is engaged to West Ham’s American midfielder Kristie Mewis.

“Jess and I have had a conversation, as I have with other players within the team,” said Hayes on Friday.

“I don’t take those things back but I have zero criticism of any player in my dressing room for anything. Their professionalism, for what they’ve given to the club regardless of their status, regardless of who they’re in a relationship with.

“I’ve been unbelievably supportive of all of the players. I’ve been a champion for equality and for equity.

“As I keep saying to our players all the time, even if we have disagreements in life, we mustn’t play them out publicly.”

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