Emma Hayes: Chelsea Women boss calls for help to tackle domestic abuse

By Jo CurrieBBC Sport
WSL should resume when the men's game does - Hayes

Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes wants victims of domestic abuse to know "they are not alone".

The National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls since the UK's lockdown began on 23 March to curb the spread of coronavirus.

"While there's a coronavirus pandemic, there's also a domestic violence pandemic taking place at the same time," she told BBC Sport.

Chelsea are working with charity Refuge to help vulnerable women and children.

The club hopes to raise awareness of domestic abuse as well as funds, offering to match every pound donated during a six-week period.

"Women and children are trapped in their homes with little or no outlet or prospect of being able to leave during the lockdown," she said.

"It is so crucial that organisations like Refuge are there to support victims and remind them they are not alone."

Coping with fear and anxiety

For Hayes, who guided Chelsea to the Women's Super League title in 2015 and 2018, the biggest personal challenge during the lockdown has been coping with the worry of the spread and effects of the virus.

"Like most people it is just fear and anxiety over what is happening and how quickly that will spread and affect the people around them," she said.

"It's a really anxious and unnerving time and I've had a lot of disturbed sleep.

"I have had to work really hard to find routines and battle against the things I cannot control.

"I can try to get as much done in and around my house that I can do without taking anything for granted."

Embracing home life

The 43-year-old is juggling life in isolation with caring for her 23-month-old son Harry, while also attempting to plan for the remainder of the season.

The WSL season, along with the rest of professional football in England, has been on hold since 13 March.

"I have gone from being a full-time coach and a mum to a full-time mum and a coach from a far," she said.

"It's a real-life change and one that I can honestly say I am enjoying because I get to spend time with my son and that is not something I got an awful lot of during the season.

"It's an important time for me to bond with him and I suspect that when I return to work it will be challenging emotionally for both of us because we are with each other 24/7."