EMMA HAYES reckons Women’s FA Cup prize money is nowhere near what ‘it needs to be’ as Chelsea gear up to battle Arsenal for the trophy.And the Blues boss wants more attention paid to equal access to football and the struggles of the game’s pioneers.
Emma Hayes and her Chelsea side hope to win their third FA Cup on SundayCredit: Reuters
Chelsea take on Arsenal at Wembley with Jonas Eidevall hoping to win his first major trophy with the GunnersCredit: Getty
Hayes was speaking before the delayed finale of this year’s contest – which comes just over 50 years on from the first one in 1971 when Southampton Ladies defeated Stewarton Thistle.
Covid restrictions saw the showdown between the Gunners and Blues moved to this Sunday with a record crowd of between 45,000 and 47,000 expected at Wembley.
Hayes, 44, said: “Why is it we don’t get more prize money? We need more being invested so it can trickle all the way down.
“We need more prize money for everyone, not just the winning team.
“I don’t think the prize money is anywhere near where it needs to be.
“It’s the same with TV money that journey has begun but when it comes to prize money, I don’t think it’s anywhere near what it should be.
“It is nowhere near what the men’s game is.”
Hayes’s comments come in a week in which Clapton FC resorted to launching a Crowdfunder to cover travel and accommodation costs for their players in the third round of this season’s FA Cup.
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The team became the first ever seventh tier women’s side to reach this stage of the contest in November.
However mounting costs for the club – who say they receive no financial support – have proved to be a concern.
On their Crowdfunder page, the team say they have earned £2,900 for their four wins in the contest with the club set to play Plymouth Argyle next.
This is in stark contrast to the £65,629 a team would earn when reaching the third round of the men’s competition.
Hayes added: “If we want to invest in our game further down, we need that money need that money to provide more opportunity at a grassroots level.”
Chelsea will take on Arsenal at Wembley precisely 100 years on from the day the FA banned women’s football at its grounds in the belief the game was ‘quite unsuitable for females.’
To have the game on a poignant date in the women’s football calendar will serve as a reminder that this game won’t be banned again. Never.Emma Hayes
Before that, the game was becoming increasingly popular amongst fans.
On Boxing Day in 1920 more than 53,000 crammed into Goodison to see Dick, Kerr Ladies take on St Helen’s Ladies in a charity match for soldiers wounded during World War One.
Hayes hopes the anniversary of the ban which put the brakes on the game’s development, will lead to greater recognition of the work of the sport’s pioneers.
The Kingsmeadow boss added: “It’s about the recognition of everybody that’s come before.
“I think to have the game on a poignant date in the women’s football calendar will serve as a reminder that this game won’t be banned again. Never.
“We’re two fabulous teams both vying to win, but the FA Cup final is about history.”
Hayes team could seal a belated treble should they win on Sunday.
But while Pernille Harder is fit the Blues chief revealed she is not expecting Maren Mjelde to feature in the final.
Hayes said: “I think we will continue to bring her back slowly. She still needs a little bit more time.
“But Maren for the long term is far more valuable than Maren immediately.”
Pernille Harder could make a return to Chelsea against Arsenal in the FA Cup finalCredit: Getty
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