Emma Hayes has been football punditry’s breakout star of Euro 2020. She has received heaps of praise on social media for her great tactical insights and analysis of the games for ITVs coverage this summer. Her inclusion within the coverage team proves that women can be a pivotal part of men’s football and are able to add just as much value as their male counterparts.


Career Abroad and in the Capital

Originally from Camden, London -Emma took European Studies, Spanish and Sociology at Liverpool Hope college before achieving a masters degree in Intelligence and International Affairs. Emma joined Chicago Red Stars as a manager in 2008 before being sacked A couple of years later. After 2 years out of management, Emma earned herself the role of Chelsea FC Women’s manager.

She is currently enjoying a very successful 9 year stint with the London club. Outside of her managerial role, Emma continues to be an ambassador for the Women’s game, supporting the growth from grassroots to professional football.

In July 2021, Emma signed a new contract with Chelsea Women FC and Chelsea director, Marina Granovskaia commented “We are delighted Emma has committed to stay at Chelsea. History speaks for itself, and we are really proud of what she has achieved in the past nine years, not just at the club, but also for the growth of the women’s game. It is phenomenal and a real credit to Emma for her continued passion, hard work and dedication to the sport.

With her two hundred and sixteen games in charge of Chelsea FC Women Emma Hayes has collected a very impressive one hundred and forty five wins with a 67.13% win rate. During her management role at Chelsea Emma has won an impressive ten major honours which includes four Women’s Super League trophies, two Women’s FA Cup trophies and two Women’s League Cup trophies.

Her four League titles makes her the most decorated manager in Women’s Super League history since the league began in 2011. Her achievements in the Women’s game have not gone unnoticed in men’s football either.

Katie Chan, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

AFC Wimbledon Calls

In February 2021 Emma Hayes was linked with the management vacancy with League one club AFC Wimbledon, which would make her the first female manager in the men’s English Football League. Former Chelsea FC player Joe Cole believes “it’s only a matter of time before she’s in charge of a men’s football club due to her great talent as a coach.

Emma has become a great advocate for the women’s game and when asked about being linked to the role of manager for AFC Wimbledon she was told the job would be a drastic step up for her in her career despite AFC Wimbledon being in the third division. Hayes quickly shut down the reports calling it “an insult.

She then went onto say “The football world needs to recognise, while the game is played by a different gender, it’s the same sport, the qualities involved with having to manage are exactly the same as it would be for a men’s team.

Hayes continued to speak about inclusivity within the men’s game and hopes to see more opportunities given to those who deserve it rather than those in privileged positions.

When the football world is ready to adhere to the diversity codes so that BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities, plus women, get the opportunities in football then I’ll see that as a step forward. This is not a conversation about Emma Hayes and AFC Wimbledon, but we should be having larger conversations about creating opportunities across the diverse spectrum so that opportunities in the men’s game are not limited to those in the privileged positions.


The Growing Role of Women in Football

Yet, female coaches remain a rarity in football, largely due to the fact that football is a male dominated sport. This is not only the case in the men’s game but in the women’s game too.

Hayes led her Chelsea side out in the Champions League final and was the first female manager to do so for 12 years. Out of the twenty premier league clubs and the nearly five hundred staff listed within those clubs, only 15 women have roles, which is just 3.34%.

This further showcases that women have an undervalued role to play in men’s football and that opportunities have been given to people based on their gender rather than their ability to perform in a certain role.

According to twitter analysis, Emma Hayes has been voted as one of the best pundits during Euro 2020, thanks to her great understanding of the game from a commentary box. She has shown that given the chances, women can prevail and should be given more opportunities in sports media.

This can inspire and build a pathway for younger generations of women to be more involved and have an interest in the sport no matter what gender, it also gives men an opportunity to open their eyes to the possibility of women becoming more involved in the football scene.

During Euros 2020, the BBC had Gabby Logan presenting, Alex Scott and Shelley Kerr on the punditry team and Vicki Sparks, Karen Carney and Erin Cuthbert on commentary and co-commentary throughout the tournament. Compared to the world cup three years prior, the BBC only had Gabby Logan, Alex Scott and Vicki Sparks working on their team.

This means the BBC made a conscious effort to increase the number of roles that women had during Euro 2020-something that women everywhere were excited about. The same trend can be seen with ITV’s team.

For Euro 2020 Eni Aluko, Emma Hayes and Nadia Nadim provided punditry, Seema Jaswal and Reshmin Choudhury were presenting, and Emma Hayes also provided commentary. During World Cup 2018 ITV only had Jacqui Oatley, Seema Jaswal and Eni Aluko working on their team for the tournament.

These examples of roles being provided for women within men’s football shows that more opportunities are available to women within football than there ever has been before.