Chelsea boss Emma Hayes backtracks over player relationship comments | Football

The soon-to-be USA head coach says she ‘let herself down’ (Picture: Getty Images)

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has backtracked on comments she made last week calling player-to-player relationships ‘inappropriate’ and says she ‘let herself down’.

Hayes, who will take over as head coach of the USA in the summer, raised eyebrows when she conflated relationships between team-mates to those of relationships between coaches and players – something which has been in the spotlight in the women’s game recently.

Her comments were not received well, with Chelsea defender Jess Carter – who is in a relationship with team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger – liking a string of posts on X criticising Hayes’ remarks.

Speaking after Chelsea’s Women’s Super League win over Arsenal on Friday, Hayes addressed the controversy and said she regretted her comments, while she has also spoken to Carter.

‘Yeah of course I’ve spoken with her,’ said the Chelsea boss.

‘I don’t want to create any more clickbait headlines for you guys. Sometimes that becomes the case when we have honest conversations about things, so of course I’m disappointed about that.

‘They [the players] know exactly who I am and what my intentions were, but I have to expect that I am supposed to be the most well-trained, non-clickbait coach, and I let myself down yesterday.’

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes and Jess Carter

Hayes and Carter after Friday’s win over Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

She continued: I didn’t think it was right for me to use the term inappropriate for the players.

‘I have zero criticism of any player in my dressing room for anything. For 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 equity.

‘As I keep saying to our players, even if we have disagreements in life, we mustn’t play them out publicly.

‘We must have those conversations with each other because I think it is an important thing to do in a workplace.

‘You saw from the performance tonight from the team that everybody is absolutely invested in what we are doing. Tremendous performance from everyone, including Jess.’

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