Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes has asked for soccer officials in the UK to consider a closed league. Like all professional soccer leagues in the UK, the England’s Women’s Super League currently operates a promotion and relegation system.

Hayes has experience in similar situation

“I’ve worked in that in the United States,” said former Chicago Red Stars manager Hayes. “I like the idea of relegation and promotion from a traditional perspective, but it doesn’t mean we should be hamstrung by it. We should be open about it.”

“I’ve seen the successes of promoting franchise-type leagues and the consistency that that can then place in running that. Look at the WNBA [Women’s National Basketball Association] as a great example.”

“We should be open to everything, and everything shouldn’t always be compared just because it’s traditional or just because of the men’s game. I think we should have an openness about reflecting on the pluses and minuses.”

Hayes previously managed Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League for two-and-a-half years prior to joining Chelsea. NWSL, much like Major League Soccer, is currently a closed league. This means that there is no promotion and relegation involved in the leagues.

UK closed league for women would have prize money changes

In addition to comments regarding a closed league, the manager also touched on the major differences in prize money between women’s and men’s clubs. The men’s FA Cup winners will rake in about $2.4 million this season. Compare this to the women’s FA Cup champion receiving around $120,000.

“You’ve got prize money, which is scandalous, it’s outrageous,” stated Hayes. “Across the women’s game, that prize money is going to have an impact all the way down the food chain.”

“And then on top of that you’ve got broadcasting which, when the next set of broadcasting rights are up, I think it’s going to be a significant moment for the women’s game.”

“Prize money will help clubs to have bigger budgets to be able to create that support in and around them.”

Along with being the Chelsea manager, Hayes is also contributing to a national review of women’s soccer in England. Announced in 2022, this evaluation will help determine ways to grow the women’s sport, at both professional and grassroots levels. The lengthy review is expected to be revealed later this summer.