Emma Hayes: Wigan boss wants one-off Women’s Super League match

Media playback is not supported on this device Victory ‘proves women are just as good as men’ League One side Wigan Women boss Emma Hayes has said men’s and women’s football should be treated…

Emma Hayes: Wigan boss wants one-off Women's Super League match

Media playback is not supported on this device Victory ‘proves women are just as good as men’

League One side Wigan Women boss Emma Hayes has said men’s and women’s football should be treated differently for their league structures.

The Women’s Super League is based on league format, with the highest-scoring team in a round of matches automatically promoted.

Hayes, who is Women’s Football Association director, is calling for one round to be created instead.

“It’s time to bring in a one-round system for the WSL,” Hayes told BBC Sport.

She added: “It’s the least we can do as managers as coaches and for the players.

“We all have kids and we want them to grow up and be happy and not be bullied by such archaic stuff. I think it’s history repeating itself.

“The FA have set out with a path for both men’s and women’s football, and that’s the way we’re moving to.”

Luton Ladies manager Vanessa Prenter is the only female boss in WSL. The FA said in June that Prenter could step up to help coach WSL 2 sides, but she continues to coach the Hatters.

“The WSL [one-round system] is different, but so is the WSL2,” Prenter said.

“If this creates a pathway [for male and female managers], then it’s great.”

‘It’s all about patience and preparation’

Hayes has guided Wigan to two Women’s FA Cup finals since taking over the club in 2013.

It is a “dream come true” for the 42-year-old to manage her home town club, and the success of the WSL1 side has shown that women’s football is “a genuinely world-class sport”.

The Northern Irishman says that while he is “genuinely proud” of the success Wigan have had, the team also “understands that there is still a lot to prove”.

Wigan were a promotion-bound club three years ago, but have missed out by one point on at least three occasions.

Hayes feels the chance for WSL 2 sides to play in the top tier only exists because of their performance in the Champions League.

“They would absolutely do extremely well [in the WSL2],” he said.

“But I know that at any given time in any sport, this is only ever going to be a professional sport if you have a gaggle of British clubs who have invested and are delivering top-class, professional sport.

“That is the pathway and that is going to be the path we are driven by. It’s about survival of the fittest. That’s the way it is.

“I certainly didn’t plan on it that way. It’s up to us to promote that we are highly evolved athletes and that we are capable of producing world-class athletes.

“I don’t think it’s stupid. We need to work within this scenario that we are never going to be able to replicate European football but, perhaps, we can succeed in a similar way.”

‘An aim is to get one or two in and be great’

Carlisle United’s Leigh Longridge scored six goals and became a surprise leader of WSL 1 this season

Hayes plans to continue his role with the FA until 2020 – but he says the team will continue to try to bring in “one or two good coaches in”.

“At the moment, we are the organisation in charge,” he added.

“I’m fortunate enough to be involved with the FA and I will be working with the FA until the end of the WSL1 season and then I will remain in that capacity.

“All will be reviewed at the end of 2020.”

But Hayes is keen to remember his WSL 1 team, who currently sit second in the table behind Arsenal.

“One of the things that is most important for me is I want to make it clear that we are doing as much as we can,” he said.

“My mantra is simply ‘whatever you dream is possible’. I’m not putting an expectation on anybody but my goal is to help one or two managers get themselves in and be great.

“I hope people see that. That is my only aim. I always say that, no matter what it is, we are open to other things. My aim is just to make Wigan good and make people see it. If it’s making Wigan the best, great.”

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