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Emma Hayes: Chelsea boss regrets player relationship comments

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Emma Hayes and Jess Carter
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said that “even if we have disagreements in life, we musn’t play them out publicly”

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says she let herself down with comments about relationships between players.

In a news conference on Thursday, she said player-coach relationships and player-to-player relationships are “inappropriate”. and hard for coaches to navigate.

Speaking after Chelsea’s Women’s Super League win over Arsenal on Friday, Hayes said she regretted her comments.

“I let myself down yesterday,” she said.

“I didn’t think it was right for me to use the term inappropriate for the players,” added Hayes.

Leicester City boss Willie Kirk is being investigated by the club following an allegation of a player-coach relationship.

It is understood a complaint has been lodged with the club about an alleged current relationship between Kirk and a player. BBC Sport has approached Kirk for comment regarding the allegation.

Following Hayes’ comments, Chelsea defender Jess Carter liked a post on X saying it was “beyond bonkers” to bring player-to-player relationships into the conversation.

England international Carter is in a relationship with Chelsea team-mate Ann-Katrin Berger, while Blues striker Sam Kerr is engaged to West Ham’s American midfielder Kristie Mewis.

“Jess and I have had a conversation, as I have with other players within the team,” said Hayes on Friday.

“I don’t take those things back but I have zero criticism of any player in my dressing room for anything. Their professionalism, for what they’ve given to the club regardless of their status, regardless of who they’re in a relationship with.

“I’ve been unbelievably supportive of all of the players. I’ve been a champion for equality and for equity.

“As I keep saying to our players all the time, even if we have disagreements in life, we mustn’t play them out publicly.”

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Paris Olympics 2024: ‘Unprecedented’ security operation will be in place, says Games chief

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Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet says the Games will protected by an “unprecedented” security operation, and that preparations are “in good shape”.

But with 100 days until the start of the Olympics, he said organisers will “keep some humility, because we know in this kind of event anything can happen in the last stretch”.

Estanguet added he was “very satisfied with where we stand at this moment”.

He told BBC Sport: “My message is you can have confidence with this event.”

Amid mounting concerns over safety, Estanguet said “I would like to reassure that it’s non-negotiable. Security is the priority.”

“It’s the biggest event that France has ever organised, and we want to showcase the best of France. So definitely we are determined to be ready.

“We are looking forward to welcoming the world in Paris.”

“When I discussed this with [London 2012 chief] Seb Coe, he told me…in the last 100 days, there will be more criticism, more people worried. It’s exactly what is happening. My role is to remain calm, remain focused on what is very important to deliver.

“The venues are ready, the budget is balanced. We have very good ticket sales, the level of ambition is very high.”

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Deontay Wilder: Ex-WBC world champion confident of Anthony Joshua fight

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Former WBC world champion Deontay Wilder tells BBC Sport he is “90%” sure a fight with Anthony Joshua will happen in the future, as he prepares to face Zhilei Zhang on 1 June.

READ MORE: Wilder says Joshua fight will be revived with big win over Zhang

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Taulupe Faletau: Wales number eight set for Cardiff return

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Taulupe Faletau back in training with Cardiff
Taulupe Faletau has played 14 games for Cardiff after joining from Bath in 2022

Cardiff and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau is set to return to action after a six-month injury lay-off.

Faletau, 33, suffered a broken arm in Wales’ World Cup victory against Georgia in Nantes in October 2023 before missing this year’s Six Nations with a calf injury.

The British and Irish Lions Test star has since returned to Cardiff training.

Faletau is available for the United Rugby Championship (URC) trip to face Ulster on Friday night.

Faletau, who has played 104 times for Wales, returns to action with the summer tour to Australia on the horizon.

Head coach Warren Gatland has lost senior figures in Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric, George North, Dan Biggar, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb to international retirement in the last 12 months.

In Faletau’s absence, Cardiff back-row duo Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin have been capped by Wales, while Aaron Wainwright has filled the national number eight role.

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