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Ward: Player-coach relationships in women's football are 'unacceptable'
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Carla Ward is concerned about coaching staff abusing their power
Carla Ward is concerned about coaching staff abusing their power

Aston Villa boss Carla Ward insists players and coaches being in relationships is "crossing that line" and "unacceptable".

Leicester boss Willie Kirk is the subject of an internal investigation following an allegation of a player-coach relationship.

He was not on the touchline as the Foxes won 2-0 at Liverpool in the Women's FA Cup quarter-finals last weekend.

And Ward, 40, is adamant it is the responsibility of coaches to protect players at all times.

Speaking ahead of her side's trip to Women's Super League rivals Everton on Saturday, she said: "I feel even stronger than I did two years ago because the game is going at a rapid rate.

"Our job and our duty is to protect players, first and foremost. So to cross that line is unacceptable and it can't happen.

"It makes me very angry because we're here to set an environment, a comfortable place that people come to work, where they feel safe, where they feel backed, where they feel looked after.

"You can't do it. It's a complete abuse of power.

"We're in a moment where there's a microscope on the women's game and people have taken advantage of certain positions. I don't like that and I don't think it's right."

Asked if a player-coach relationship should be a sackable offence, Ward replied: “Yes, 100%."

Ward, who represented the likes of Sheffield United, Lincoln and Bristol Rovers during her playing days, believes the possible grey area of a player-coach relationship — given it is not illegal, providing no minors are involved — should be addressed in contracts.

She added: "It is an unwritten rule and I am sure teachers don't have it in their contracts.

"But given where we are at now, and people don't understand it, maybe put it in black and white so it is clear."

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall echoed Ward's sentiments. He said: "I think it’s very inappropriate for a number of reasons. It's a clear no with relationships between player and manager."


Aston Villa WomenWomen's Super League
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