Women's football: Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes wants 'Rooney Rule'

School Reporters Matt, Danielle and Bella talk to Emma Hayes Emma Hayes is the only female manager working in the top division of the FA Women's Super League

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British football needs a system similar to the 'Rooney Rule' to help female coaches get jobs in the men's game, Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes says.

Under the 'Rooney Rule', NFL American football franchises must interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate for coach vacancies.

Only a handful of female coaches work in men's football in Britain.

"We need clubs to take risks to hire the right candidates," Hayes, 38, told BBC News School Report.

"At the end of the day, there aren't a lot of female coaches that have the top-level licence and the coaching experience but that will change, added Hayes, who is the sole female boss in Women's Super League 1.

"What needs to change in addition to that is the opportunity to then interview.

What is the 'Rooney Rule'?

The 'Rooney Rule' was established in 2003 and named after Dan Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the chairman of the NFL's diversity committee. It requires NFL teams to interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operation opportunities that become available, as part of a transparent and open recruitment process.

"In America they have the Rooney Rule and as we move forward and have more coaches that are more qualified and more experienced, we need the opportunity to get in the boardroom.

"If we then don't get the job, then fine. It's little by little and we're still some way off from that."

Hayes, talking to pupils from The Beaconsfield School in Buckinghamshire, said the lack of female coaches in the men's and women's game made it even more important for her to lead by example.

"I'm proud of my parents for giving me the confidence to think I could do it," she said. "I hope I'm a role model for female coaches who are coming through.

Emma Hayes

"I hope and expect there are female coaches out there who are saying they want to do what I do, and if I can play a part in that and when I step away from the game can say 'I was the first', then I'm proud of that too."

Chelsea lost the league title on goal difference to Liverpool on the final day of last season, and Hayes said the time for near misses was over.

"My expectations are to win, to play attractive football and learn the lessons of last year," added Hayes, whose Chelsea team will kick off the new Women's Super League season at Notts County on 29 March.

"When you've got the title in your hand, make sure you protect it and put it in your pocket and you fight for it like it's your life

Emma Hayes on...

The attraction of a career in management: "Pressure! I can't say it's the glamour because your skin gets destroyed being outside all the time but I wanted to lead from a very young age. I enjoyed being captain of teams and liked the responsibility of doing it."

Her "calling": "I was approached by a clairvoyant eight years ago when I had to make a decision between jobs in St Louis and Chicago. She said: 'Don't do either of those, you're going to do great things at Chelsea.' I was the Arsenal coach at the time, so I feel like this is my calling!"

Women's football's USP: "We don't dive around, we just want to play and as a result of that the ball is in play a lot longer - it's a much more enjoyable and technical game to watch. Also, you can get closer to the players - they're much more approachable."

Inequality of media coverage between men and women's sport: "It's down to history and it's a male-dominated society. The FA stopped women's football until the late 1970s so it's going to take time to build up as a sport again."

."We've never won a trophy. I can't keep bringing a wooden spoon in to work - this is Chelsea and we want to bring silverware to this football club."

Hayes has been in charge at Chelsea since 2012 and said her main motivation was to leave the club in as strong a position as possible and with an infrastructure which was "built to last".

"I couldn't give an ounce more," she said.

"This is the chance for me to have a legacy. I can say hands down that I could drive off and my loss wouldn't be noticed because the infrastructure and staff here are so strong and that's the most important thing in the world to me.

"As much as trophies matter, leaving something that's built to last is the most important thing to me."

Wes Brown: Sunderland star backs women's football.

Meanwhile, Sunderland defender Wes Brown told pupils from The Academy at Shotton Hall in County Durham that women's football deserved more coverage.

"I know over the last couple of years it has got a lot more coverage. There are a lot more teams now. It has become professional," Brown, 35, said.

"Even at Sunderland we have girls training at the academy every day. There are maybe five or six girls playing every day.

"I do think over the next few years it will get more coverage, but there does need to be more."

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