Home News Emma Hayes lambasts WSL for fixture congestion issues after Chelsea’s win over Liverpool

Emma Hayes lambasts WSL for fixture congestion issues after Chelsea’s win over Liverpool

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Emma Hayes lambasts WSL for fixture congestion issues after Chelsea’s win over Liverpool

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Chelsea boss Emma Hayes slammed the WSL for not considering player welfare when rescheduling games for broadcasting purposes.

The Blues were thoroughly impressive in the 5-1 win over Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with Lauren James rightfully taking the plaudits for a stunning hat trick in the victory – the second of her career.

The performance was made even more remarkable given the fact that Chelsea only returned from their midweek trip to Spain to face Real Madrid in the Champions League at 4am on Thursday morning – leaving the Blues with a measly two-day turnaround before facing the Reds on Saturday afternoon.

Chelsea’s game against Liverpool was, shockingly, their third game in the space of just six days, having beaten Everton 3-0 on Merseyside last Sunday.

Issues with schedule congestion have been due to Chelsea vs Liverpool being moved to 1.30pm on Saturday in order for it to be broadcast on BBC.

Speaking after the win, Hayes admitted to being incredibly frustrated with the decision to move the kick-off time, stating: “I think, considering none of us really slept Wednesday night, and we’ve been in hotels since last weekend, it was a tremendous response from the whole squad.

“As much as you get accustomed to [the travelling], of course I’m going to hammer TV and the league today because, three games in six days, I feel like nobody really understands how hard that is to do.

“Don’t you think it’s a little bizarre that we’re the only team that’s played on Wednesday, and we’re the first team to play on Saturday, having played Sunday night away from home last week?

“We’re the only team in Europe and yet we’re the only association that doesn’t help its team in Europe; Spain do, France do, Germany do, we don’t,” Hayes exclaimed. “That, for me, is disappointing. [We’re] working against ourselves.”

While venting her frustrations, Hayes said that Chelsea are set to face a similar predicament in December with a trip Bristol City in the WSL being sandwiched in between Champions League games against BK Haken.

maren mjelde, emma hayes

A good win for Chelsea / Chloe Knott – Danehouse/GettyImages

“I accept it’s coming up again, I think in December, I think we play Hacken, Bristol, Hacken – three in six days again,” she continued.

“But all I’m asking is, don’t we want an English team to try and progress in Europe? It’s hard enough.

“And the rest of Europe look at us and think: their league doesn’t even help them, and I know Jonas [Eidevall, Arsenal manager] made this point last year. I think it’s something we should seriously look at.”

The WSL broadcasting rights are up for renewal imminently, with TNT announcing their intent to bid for the rights this week.

With negotiations for a new deal set to be held soon, Hayes hopes that players and clubs will have more say in deciding which games are considered for broadcasting in order to protect player welfare:

“Most people can say it happens in the men’s game – it does. In fact, broadcasters and league organisers don’t really understand it. They don’t understand the dangers for some players. 

“Take Millie Bright, for example; I could play her in the game today, but at what cost? Then all of a sudden, England needs to qualify for the Olympics in a week’s time, and everyone could criticise, like, it’s about player welfare, it’s not about Chelsea, it’s about player welfare.”

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