Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes appeared to rule herself out of contention to replace Mark Sampson with England after vowing to stay with her club for the long term.
Hayes, who led Chelsea to the Women’s Super League Spring Series title earlier this year, has been seen as a potentially strong candidate for the vacancy.
But the 40-year-old, whose first-team players Eni Aluko and Drew Spence were at the centre of racism allegations made against Sampson, does not appear to fancy the England job.
She said of her Chelsea role: “I have nothing but love for this football club and I want to go on record to say, ‘Thank you for everything that you’ve done to support me and I will be here for a long time to come’.”
Hayes told Sky Sports News that Chelsea have “supported me in every step of my journey” and are continuing to push the women’s team to reach new heights.
Sampson strongly denies the claims of racism and bullying made against him and has been cleared on both counts by separate investigations.
He was sacked by the Football Association on Wednesday for an unrelated matter concerning alleged “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” in his previous role at Bristol Academy.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee will sit on October 18 to hear from Aluko and her former England team-mate Lianne Sanderson on the claims of racism, and FA chief executive Martin Glenn has also been invited to appear.
Hayes was asked about the departure of Sampson, and said: “I think it’s a tragic ending to what has been a very difficult time for everyone involved, including the FA, and I just hope that moving forward a combination of the select committee and the FA reflect on the whole handling of the situation and going forward they make sure that never happens again.”
Chelsea’s squad includes not only Aluko, whose exclusion from the England squad by Sampson was in itself a point of controversy, but several current players from the Lionesses ranks.
Hayes said handling the saga had been “probably one of the most difficult things I’ve dealt with in my career”.
For now she has advised Aluko, a late substitute in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Bristol City on Sunday, to focus on playing football.
Hayes added: “I’ve spoken with Eni about the importance of making sure that it’s not about winning every battle, and it’s important that we let the authority and we let the select committee do their due diligence, finish their work, and she needs to concentrate on football which she fully understands.”