Chelsea Women ‘critical’ to club, more must invest in women’s football

Roman Abramovich has said Chelsea Women are a “critical part” of the club and believes more owners should invest in women’s football.

Chelsea are the reigning Women’s Super League (WSL) champions and have won the title three times under head coach Emma Hayes.

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The club are top of the WSL after a record-breaking run of 32 matches unbeaten this season.

Chelsea also lifted the 2021 League Cup last week with a 6-0 victory over Bristol City, and club owner Abramovich said the women’s game has huge potential in the future.

“Chelsea is not just the men’s first team,” he told Forbes. “Chelsea is a community. It’s the women’s team, it’s the youth teams, it’s the academy, it’s support to former players of the club.

“It’s something that we started to do since day one. The reason is that we approached Chelsea as a community. And people within the community — there are children, there are women, there are men, there are former players, there are current players, there are future players — all of them need to be welcomed and part of how we conduct the business.

“I see no reason why clubs wouldn’t want to support women’s football and provide the best possible opportunity for them to succeed. For me, this is both about the principle, but, also, women’s football has huge potential. If women’s football received the same level as support as men’s football, the sport would obviously be equally successful on the business side.

“And I think investment pays off. I think their success demonstrates what can be achieved when you dedicate resources and the right leadership. Emma Hayes has been remarkable in her work with the team.”

Abramovich also reiterated his stance against racism and antisemitism in football amid an increase of abuse aimed at footballers on social media.

Chelsea men’s player Reece James has been one of a number of footballers to receive racist messages online this season.

“Racism, antisemitism, this is all the same type of evil and should have no place in our world at this day and age,” Abramovich added. “Every time I get sent examples of racist abuse that our players face, I am shocked.

“It’s disgraceful that this is the reality for not just our players, but for anyone targeted by this sort of abuse. If we as a club can make a difference in this area, in fighting antisemitism, racism and promoting tolerance, I am determined to stand behind it and contribute in whatever way I can.”

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