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Villa boss: coach-player relationships should be sackable

Aston Villa manager, Carla Ward, has said that coach-player relationships should be sackable offences within the women’s game.

Villa coach, Carla Ward has spoken out after Leicester Women’s manager Willie Kirk was suspended by the club due to an alleged relationship with one of their squad.

Sheffield United also sacked Jonathan Morgan recently, on the grounds that he had had a romantic relationship with one of the Blades’ women players.

It is alleged that Morgan had the relationship with the player during a time when the women’s club were not recognised professionally or affiliated with the men’s team.

Ward says that such relationships between managers and their players are “unacceptable” and should be considered sackable offences by clubs across the league.

Villa coach Carla Ward says that coach-player relationships should be sackable offences in the professional game of football.
Carla Ward says coach-player relationships should be sackable offences in the professional game.

Relationships between managers and players are nothing new, with the whole topic being something of an unkept secret within the sport for some time.

When asked whether it should be a sackable offence to engage in a relationship with a player, Ward answered “Yep. Our job and our duty is to protect players, first and foremost. So, to cross that line is unacceptable and it can’t happen.”

She went on to say “It makes me very angry because we’re here to set an environment, a comfortable place that people come to work in, where they feel safe, where they feel backed, where they feel looked after. I just don’t understand anyone who crosses that line. The game is professionalised.”

When asked her thoughts on why no more examples had been made of such situations as those found within Leicester and Sheffield United’s ranks, Ward agreed that a lack of infrastructure to report such relationships was the key issue.

“Essentially, if you’re the manager and you’re crossing that line it’s very difficult for anyone to report it. Yes, you can at some clubs, but it does become difficult. It’s a complete abuse of power.

“We’re in a moment right now where there’s a microscope on the women’s game, I think people have taken advantage of certain positions. I don’t like that, I don’t think it’s right.”

Arsenal Women’s manager, Jonas Eidevall also holds similar opinions to Ward, saying on the matter of coach-player relationships:

“It’s very inappropriate for a number of reasons,” he said. “It’s a clear no with relationships between player and manager. There’s no doubt if you look and you read the NWSL reports for example there are major issues within the game and there have been in the past as well.”

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