Britain’s top female soccer coach calls for equality in men’s leagues

Written by Staff Writer, CNN London

Emma Hayes, Britain’s top female football coach, has urged officials to do more to promote female soccer leagues and potentially let female players compete with male teams.

“As a coach, I would love to see equality,” she told CNN Sport in an interview. “As a fan, I would love to see it too. That I think would be fantastic.”

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The 50-year-old also encouraged the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) to take a more proactive role in campaigns for greater equality, especially for female sports media personnel.

“We need to work as hard with the male media as well,” she added. “In football, there are few women doing media and there are certainly fewer women working in professional sports media.”

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As a former player and head coach, Hayes has seen first-hand the low standard of women’s football.

“Women’s football has a far, far, far lower profile and nowhere near the same success of the men’s game,” she said. “People still have to be brought up to the fact that the women’s game isn’t as well as it should be.”

Since taking up her role as national coach of England’s senior team in April 2014, Hayes has had to juggle her own career as a player in the Premier League with her duties as England coach.

To counter this, she has transformed the number of women joining the lower leagues in England.

“Currently, women playing in league five are the lowest paid players in our professional game,” she said. “But in a couple of years’ time, five years after I’ve left, we’ll have to have something in place to make sure women’s football can grow without falling further behind.”

In the interview with CNN, Hayes also discusses gender equality in football, saying it “won’t happen overnight” but that her goal for female football is “moving it forward.”

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