Emma Hayes calls on Government to help struggling clubs by funding the re-opening of girls academies

Emma Hayes: 'We need to consider the investment coming into youth football. Perhaps the Government and sports minister could provide funding that would make a difference'

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Emma Hayes, the Chelsea manager, has called upon the Government to fund the re-opening of girls academies at those WSL and Women’s Championship clubs which are unable to do so themselves.

When lockdown resumed, girls academies were closed while boys’ equivalents were allowed to remain open. Permission has now been given for the girls academies to re-open but many clubs lack the resources to do so under current regulations.

“From my understanding I think we have the necessary support structures in place to bring our elite academy back,” said Hayes. “I don’t think it is a club like us which is the issue. I think it is maybe other clubs across the country.

“We need to consider the investment coming into youth football. Perhaps the Government and sports minister could provide funding that would make a difference so academies could have full-time staff in place to create the level of security that is needed with so many Covid protocols. Hopefully that is something that can be looked at.”

Hayes, speaking ahead of Chelsea’s WSL match at Arsenal on Sunday, part of Women’s Football Weekend, also expressed a hope that Greg Clarke’s successor as FA chairman was progressively-minded.

Clarke quit this week after making a series of dated, derogatory comments at a select committee hearing of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, comments which Hayes said “are not acceptable”. She added: “The FA are now in another direction. We have to move forward and show as much affirmative action as we can to make sure the progressive, diverse culture we live in is echoed in all of our institutions.

“Hopefully his successor will be somebody who looks at it independently, a good leader, someone who is experienced and considered and progressive, to be able to do what is needed in the 21st century.”