Emma Hayes clarifies AFC Wimbledon comments - 'No amount of money is going to tempt me away' from Chelsea

Chelsea Women boss Emma Hayes: "I sincerely hope AFC Wimbledon find the right candidate... The whole point about them not being able to afford me is nothing to do with money, but everything to do with the fact that I'm in the best job in the world"

Emma Hayes coached Chelsea to their 6-0 win 2:32
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes insists women's football is not a step down from the men's game, following reports of an approach from AFC Wimbledon

Chelsea Women boss Emma Hayes has clarified her stance after claiming AFC Wimbledon could not afford her, insisting it is not about money but the fact she has the "best job in the world".

Hayes had been linked with the vacancy at Wimbledon, which would have seen her become the first woman to manage a professional men's team in English football.

On Tuesday, Hayes emphatically shut down the reports, calling them an "insult" to women's football, while she also replied "absolutely not" when asked if the League One side would be able to convince her financially.

Speaking after Wednesday's League Cup semi-final win over West Ham, Hayes reiterated she was happy at Chelsea and that "no amount of money" would see her leave the role, where she has won three WSL titles and two Women's FA Cups in eight-and-a-half-years at the helm.

"Football is for everyone," she said. "It's not for the privileged, it's not for the few, it's not for the elite. Football is represented by a diverse society and within that diverse society men's football does not reflect the diverse society that we live in.

"I sincerely hope AFC Wimbledon find the right candidate for their football club. The whole point about them not being able to afford me is nothing to do with money, but everything to do with the fact that I'm in the best job in the world. No amount of money is going to tempt me away from that.

Chelsea Ladies Head Coach Emma Hayes during Barclays Women's Super League match between Arsenal Women and Chelsea Women (Photo by AFS/Espa-Images)(Credit Image: © ESPA Photo Agency/CSM via ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images) 1:35
Chelsea Women head coach Emma Hayes says the football world needs to 'wake up' about women's football and diversity

"To see the reaction from my end, all I can say is women's football and everyone who works within it knows the levels you have to produce to be within it. You see the number of sackings that have taken place in our profession this year.

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"It is not secondary to anything, just as we don't question female teachers differently to that of male teachers, or female physicians… We talk about women in football like we are not entitled to the same opportunity and the same access.

"My final piece on it, all I want is to normalise the conversation, so if the entire universe is talking about it tonight then hallelujah, let's make sure we have it more often, let's make sure that we talk about it without feeling unbelievably threatened. Everybody has a place in football, and I'll say it again. I'm extremely happy at Chelsea."

Wimbledon 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 table after 25 games.

'No right or wrong time for female boss in men's game'

Ex-England forward Rachel Yankey told Sky Sports News there is no right or wrong time for a female coach to take charge of a men's football team in English football after Emma Hayes dismissed reports linking her with the AFC Wimbledon vacancy

Former England and Arsenal forward Rachel Yankey told Sky Sports News that being a "good coach" should outweigh the factor of gender when people are considered for coaching roles.

"I listened to the interview and I think she makes some fantastic points, definitely about coaching and managing, it's about working with people," said Yankey.

"She has been able to work with fantastic, talented players who have played at the highest level. To be able to do that and bring them all together, make them win, a female coach can do that in any level of football.

"Where she says football really needs to modernise itself, obviously we've got the diversity code, it's really important we move on and adhere to that, because we shouldn't see the colour of people's skin or just because they're female as a barrier, or something that is less.

"Just to be a good coach is all about how you manage players, whether you're a female player or a male player it really shouldn't matter."

Yankey, England's most capped international player, also said there is no right or wrong time for a female coach to take charge of a men's football team in English football.

She added: "That's up to chairmen and coaches. I don't think there's a wrong or right time, I think it's about appointing the right person to the right club. I'm not sure Emma felt AFC Wimbledon, from listening to her interview, that she felt that was the right club for her - and that she's happy at Chelsea.

"I'm sure there's coaches out there that coaching in the men's game wouldn't be a problem. It's just finding the right fit, the right club, players, philosophy. It shouldn't be a barrier, it's all about how good you are at teaching people. It shouldn't matter if you're a woman doing that, or black, or Asian, it's just about the qualities you can bring."

Harder hat-trick helps Chelsea reach League Cup final

Chelsea will have the chance to retain the Women's League Cup in next month's final after Pernille Harder's hat-trick helped them to a 6-0 thrashing of West Ham in the last four on Wednesday.

The holders made a blistering start at Kingsmeadow and the tie was all but over after half an hour as Hayes' side took a 4-0 lead, with Sophie Ingle and Beth England adding to Harder's two first-half strikes.

West Ham managed to prevent the Women's Super League leaders from extending the lead until the 70th minute, but Fran Kirby added a fifth before Harder completed her hat-trick four minutes from the end.

Chelsea's opponents in the final on March 14 at Vicarage Road will be Bristol City, who beat Leicester 1-0 to reach the final of the competition for the first time in the club's history.

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