EMMA HAYES has slapped down speculation linking her to League One strugglers AFC Wimbledon.
And the Chelsea boss rubbished the view that the Dons’ managers job would be a step up from her current role at the helm of the WSL champs.
Hayes, 44, was speaking to journalists following reports of her being shortlisted to become AFC Wimbledon’s new manager.
But the Blues gaffer revealed she is happy to be leading her WSL title-winners and that her focus is on Chelsea’s Conti Cup semis clash with West Ham.
And the highly-rated coach reckons the Dons could ‘absolutely not’ afford her.
Hayes said: “First of all, I think it’s important we talk about my game tomorrow – I’m the manager of Chelsea.
“I manage and represent elite world-class players and for me, this is an amazing job I’ve spent nine years cultivating all of my energy into.
“I’m not looking for another job, I’m blessed with working with wonderful humans day-in, day-out.
“I just don’t know why anybody would think women’s football is a step down.
“If coaching World Cup champions, winners, players who have represented their countries in the Olympics or Euros is a step down from anything.
“I think the football world needs to wake up and recognise that women’s football- while the game is played by a different gender to men – is exactly the same sport.”
“This is not a conversation about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon, but we should be having larger conversations about creating opportunities in the men’s game are not limited to those in privileged positions.”
Hayes, who is highly regarded by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and the Stamford Bridge hierarchy, has won 11 major trophies with the club.
A move to the Dons would have seen the Camden-born coach become the first woman in history to take charge of a men’s football league side.
Women’s football is not a step down from anything
However the former Arsenal assistant manager questioned why anyone would want to leave elite women’s football management for coaching a lower tier men’s side battling relegation.
And her view was echoed by England Women’s legend Fara Williams who believes Hayes would face an uphill struggle in the Dons’ hotseat.
England’s most-capped player said: “Do I see it as a good opportunity for Emma to go and take on a relegation battle with a League One club? No. I think the odds would all be against her going into that position.
“The positions she’s in with Chelsea is a much better position.”
Hayes added: “Women’s football is not a step down from anything.
“Women’s football in its right is something to celebrate and the quality and achievements of all the females I represent.
“Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Beth England, Magda Eriksson, Millie Bright, Maren Mjelde, do you want me to keep going?
“These are world-class players and I think that’s what I’m disappointed with, not being linked to a football job as a football coach, regardless of gender.
“But as you can see with – I’m happy at Chelsea and I love my job here and I’ve always been clear about that. Nothing has changed.”
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