Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes has said it will not be long before a female coach takes charge of a club in the men’s game.
Stephanie Frappert is set to make history this weekend by becoming the first woman to referee a Ligue 1 match — following in the footsteps of Bibiana Steinhaus, who has been officiating Bundesliga matches since September 2017.
Asked how soon she thinks it will be before a woman is given the opportunity to referee a Premier League game, Hayes replied: “Well, I can honestly say Sian Massey is the best linesperson by a country mile. I think she’s outstanding every time I watch her.
“I don’t think it will be long at all, I think it’s a matter of time — as much as I think it’s a matter of time before there’s a female coach in the men’s game.”
Hugely respected within football for her achievements over seven successful years in charge of Chelsea Women, there have even been calls from some Blues supporters for Hayes to be considered by Roman Abramovich to coach the men’s team.
For now, though, Hayes said she is focused on the challenge of helping her Chelsea side overcome a 2-1 semifinal first leg deficit against Champions League holders Lyon to reach the final of this year’s competition.
An own goal from Magda Eriksson and a goal direct from a corner by Dzsenifer Marozsan gave the French side a commanding lead in last weekend’s first leg in Lyon, but Erin Cuthbert struck late to give Chelsea hope after Fran Kirby had seen her penalty saved.
“We’re good enough,” Hayes replied when asked what she had learned from the first leg. “We’re ready — we’re capable.
“I’ve always said it takes several years before the English team competes, but we’re showing that we’re getting closer to that. I’m not taking anything away from their achievements, they’re a wonderful, wonderful football team, but we don’t live in fear.”
Despite playing the majority of the game on the back foot, Chelsea created several clear chances to score more than one away goal, and captain Karen Carney is adamant that the Blues have the firepower to hurt Europe’s most dominant team.
“I wasn’t surprised,” she said. “We’ve got an amazing front line, an amazing team, an amazing bench.”
Lyon are bidding to reach an eighth Champions League final in 10 years and lift the trophy for a fourth consecutive year.