Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall says player-coach relationships would be ‘very inappropriate’

JONAS EIDEVALL and a number of WSL bosses have criticised player and manager relationships in football, with the Arsenal boss calling them “inappropriate”.

Aston Villa gaffer Carla Ward echoed Eidevall’s view of stating they made her very angry.

Jonas Eidevall says football's governing bodies need to take a strong stance on player-coach relationships


Jonas Eidevall says football’s governing bodies need to take a strong stance on player-coach relationshipsCredit: Getty
Carla Ward believes relationships between managers and players should be a sackable offence


Carla Ward believes relationships between managers and players should be a sackable offenceCredit: Getty

Eidevall, 41, was speaking ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Friday.

His title chasers, who are third, will take on Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea.

The clash comes a week after Willie Kirk was suspended by Leicester while the club investigates allegations of a relationship with one of their players.

It also comes over a month after Jonathan Morgan was sacked from his Sheffield United Women’s boss role.

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His departure followed information coming to light “concerning a relationship with a player” during his Foxes tenure.

When asked about the idea of relationships occurring between coaches and footballers, Eidevall flagged concerns about player welfare.

The Arsenal boss, whose side are third and three points behind Chelsea, said: “It’s very inappropriate for a number of reasons.

“But I think it’s a clear ‘no’ with relationships between player and manager.

“If you look at women’s football, when you look in the past, and there’s no doubt, if you look, and you read the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) reports that there are major issues within the game.

“And there have been major issues in the game in the past as well, which probably, unfortunately, tells you that there still are issues at some places for it.

“And that concerns me from a player-welfare perspective.”

Eidevall’s comments come almost 15 months after the USA-based NWSL and the league’s players’ association published a report raising concerns around inappropriate player-coach relationships.

Following a 14-month investigation into misconduct within the division, it called for an end to consensual relationships between managers and players or team staff.

On the need for governing bodies to look into safeguarding, Eidevall added: “I absolutely think that governing bodies, leagues, clubs, associations need to be strong on that because I do think it’s very inappropriate.

“I think it goes out over the player welfare, which is very, very sad.

“In most situations where it would be like do you have whistle-blower mechanisms in place?

“What different ways of communicating do you have if you feel that inappropriate things are going on in the environment you are in?

“Or are you in a closed environment where you feel you don’t have any good way out?

“That’s just to make sure that players in this instance have the relevant communication ways to be able to report if anything inappropriate is going on.

“That could be inappropriate relationships, but it could also be other things. It’s safeguarding and making sure people are safe.”

Ward, 40, whose eighth-placed Villans take on Everton on Saturday,  was asked if player-coach relationships should be a sackable offence.

In response she said “yes” and added: “When you talk about, ‘where does the line get drawn?

“I think it’s very simple – when the game got professionalised, you can’t cross that line.

“There’s talk of pre-professionalised, there was a social aspect.

“When I was a player, it was a very social aspect but now we’re talking about levels that are parent-teacher in my opinion. You can’t do it.”

Spurs Women’s boss Vilhamn, whose team host Leicester on Sunday, also insists it’s not acceptable for players and managers to be in relationships.

The Tottenham head coach said: “Me as a coach, I am in a power position with players and staff.

“I think it’s very unprofessional. For me it’s unacceptable.

Emma Hayes shared her thoughts on the issue and also believes relationships between players in teams can be improper.

The Chelsea manager said: “We have to look at it in the context of where the game has come from.

Emma Hayes  believes football needs to have high standards when it comes to player safeguarding


Emma Hayes believes football needs to have high standards when it comes to player safeguardingCredit: Getty

“We have say, look, we’re in a professional era now where the expectations in place for players and coaches is such that all of our focus and attention has got to be on having the top standards.

“That’s why I’ve always been an advocate of making sure clubs have minimum standards whether it’s code of conduct, player safeguarding, player welfare.

“I don’t think it’s just in and around player-coach relationships.”

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