Chelsea Women’s boss Hayes fears social media abuse of players could lead to suicides



The Blues coach is the latest major figure in the game to speak out as the sport continues to reckon with the effects of abuse

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says that she fears online abuse of players could lead to suicides within the game, adding she would “100 per cent” remove her squad from social media if she could.

The Blues coach is the latest major figure in the game to speak out as the sport continues to reckon with the effects of abuse targeted towards individuals across the internet.

Speaking at length, the four-time Women’s Super League winner believes that more can be done to stamp out such actions.

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What has been said?

“100 per cent,” Hayes told CNN when asked if she would ban her squad’s online presences if she was able to. “Yeah, I would if I could, but we have to live with it.

“And if we’re going to live with it, then those that profit from it should take responsibility. And if not, our national governments should force them to eradicate a culture of hate.

“There is no denying there are vulnerable athletes with mental health issues across the board that – off the back of a bad game or off of being a woman, or being gay, or being of different colour, or ethnicity – experience vile, abusive messages that could certainly put them in a position where they could contemplate [suicide]

Hayes calls for fast action

A widespread social media blackout across the British game last year proved to be little deterrent to the wave of abuse that boiled up in the wake of England’s Euro 2020 final heartbreak.

Hayes further noted that without change, such incidents and the subseqent results will only snowball, stating: “We will be talking about the more severe ends of people taking their lives.

“I have to live it every day. I have to manage young people and then the impact that has on them and their internal struggle, that translates into massive underperformance.”

The bigger picture

Hayes will be looking to ensure back-to-back wins in the Women’s Super League with the Blues this weekend following an opening defeat against Arsenal for the defending champions.

Chelsea beat Everton to get back on track last time out but now face a further test in the shape of Manchester United.

Hayes called earlier this month for the introduction of VAR to the women’s game, stating that without it, the players were “second-class citizens” in the WSL.

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