Emma Hayes is confident her highly successful Chelsea women’s team will remain an important and properly funded part of the club once new owners move into Stamford Bridge.
Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell Chelsea has prompted concern that future support could be withdrawn from Hayes’s squad but the manager does not share such worries. “We’re fully embedded into this football club,” said Hayes as she prepared for Saturday’s League Cup final against Manchester City at AFC Wimbledon’s Plough Lane ground. “I know any future owners are going to want success for the club and the women’s team are part of that.
“You hear about underfunded women’s teams but there’s no chance of that happening here or things going backwards. This club is invested in its women’s team and I expect that to remain long and strong into the future.
“I have no anxieties or worries about our status. I know we’re embedded internally. I know the relationships we have across the club; all departments are working on the same page and that won’t change.”
Nonetheless Hayes acknowledged she had experienced more straightforward weeks. “It’s been a long week for people at Chelsea, it’s been difficult, of course it has; I can’t deny that,” she said. “But there are worse things going on in the world now. Nothing’s more difficult than the horrendous situation Ukraine’s going through. Yes, there’s going to be some change and the position we’re in is a challenge but we’re not afraid of it.”
Hayes applauds stellar internal club communications that have helped her squad feel fully informed. Along with Thomas Tuchel’s men, the women’s squad have been briefed by Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance adviser.
“Our level of communication’s first class,” said Hayes. “Chelsea people are amazing people in all sections and nothing’s changed in that respect. While we acknowledge the club is to be sold, it will always be a significant force in the game. While we’ll have a new owner, the culture whereby we all look after each other will remain. I think we’ll continue to be hugely successful.
“Of course uncertainty creates conversation and it was important we had a briefing this morning. It reminded the players of our strength and togetherness. Chelsea will remain a strong force because of the people involved here, which is part of the reason why we’ve been successful Footballers know things don’t remain the same. Having that ability to acknowledge change and adapt and evolve to it makes top-class players what they are.”