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Emma Hayes says ‘male aggression’ should not be tolerated as Jonas Eidevall defends himself after Conti Cup final altercation

Emma Hayes says ‘male aggression’ should not be tolerated as Jonas Eidevall defends himself after Conti Cup final altercation

Emma Hayes and Jonas Eidevall clashed at the end of the Conti Cup final; the Chelsea manager said Eidevall show ‘male aggression’ in confrontation with Erin Cuthbert; Eidevall claims disagreement over use of multi-ball or single ball systems

Image: Emma Hayes storms off after clashing with Jonas Eidevall at Molineux

After a confrontation following the Conti Cup final, Emma Hayes claimed Jonas Eidevall showed “male aggression” with the Arsenal manager forced to defend himself.

The pair clashed at the end of the Gunners’ 1-0 win over Chelsea at Molineux – retaining their competition title in the process – with Hayes pushing Eidevall during a heated exchange of words.

There also looked to be an incident between Erin Cuthbert and Eidevall on the touchline towards the end of extra-time, with the then-Chelsea captain appearing angered by the Gunners boss.

The Arsenal manager later explained how a disagreement over using a multi-ball or single-ball system had been the root cause, but Hayes was angry with his actions towards her player.

  • Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (AET) – Conti Cup final match report
  • Arsenal’s Frida Maanum ‘stable’ after collapsing in Conti Cup final
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

She told BBC Sport: “I think there’s a way to behave on the side of the pitch and not for the first time, I’ve been in women’s football a long time and I don’t think we should tolerate male aggression like we did today.

“Fronting up or squaring up to a player is something that’s unacceptable. I’ve never been booked in 12 years of my career but I think there’s a way to behave on the touchline.

“He received a yellow card but perhaps should have been more.”

Image: Stina Blackstenius scored late in added time to win the Conti Cup for Arsenal

Eidevall: I had no form of contact with anyone

Eidevall has defended himself against accusations of aggression, explaining how he reacted as Chelsea looked to switch to a multi-ball system late in the game when they needed a goal.

He told BBC Sport: “My word on what was happening would be that before the game we had a discussion between the clubs about whether to use one ball or multi-ball system.

What is the difference between multi-ball and single-ball systems?

  • The multi-ball system allows for a different ball to be used after the original ball has gone out of play, designed to ensure the game keeps flowing as quickly as possible.
  • A single ball system means using and returning the same ball each time.

“In this situation, Arsenal said multi-ball, Chelsea said one ball. The decision was to play the final on a one ball system.

“The ball goes out of play, the Chelsea player wants a new ball to take a quick throw-in and I said ‘we play with only one ball and you guys were the ones who decided that’.

“Obviously it drives all kinds of emotions in there, nothing more, nothing less. I can’t see that I did anything, had any form of contact with anyone – either a player or a coach. That was it.”

“To be honest I can’t really take it seriously [being called an ‘aggressor’].”

Eidevall vs Hayes: Not for the first time…

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Anton Toloui reacts to Arsenal’s Conti Cup victory against Chelsea

While this may be the most public in-person collision between Hayes and Eidevall in their final meeting as club managers, it is not the first time the pair have had disagreements.

Eidevall and Hayes met for the first time in the WSL in September 2021. Arsenal were 3-2 winners at the Emirates, with the new Gunners boss celebrating by falling to his knees with both arms outstretched while roaring in delight.

Chelsea would go on to win the WSL title that season, with Arsenal finishing in second by a point.

The two met again shortly after in the delayed 2020/21 FA Cup final, which was played in December. In a strange analogy in his pre-match press conference, Eidevall said: “I do have some superstitions. I don’t let any black cats cross my way, ever.

“If Emma sees this, she will probably buy a thousand black cats with the money Chelsea have and send them all over our training pitch. I’m going to be invaded by black cats.”

Image: Arsenal's Leah Williamson (centre left) and Kim Little lift the Conti Cup after beating Chelsea

It was a mention that Hayes referred to after Chelsea won the game 3-0 at Wembley, saying: “When the third goal went in, I was simply purring.”

There have been other digs and comments throughout one of the league’s most intense rivalries, but ultimately, both Eidevall and Hayes have spoken of their respect for one another.

“What I am going to miss is the competition,” the Arsenal boss said before their final WSL meeting at Stamford Bridge earlier this month.

“I really like to compete. It’s never easy against a team she coaches because they will always be flexible, they will always plan for any scenario and have players who are so dedicated to try to win the game. I like the challenge of that.”

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Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall predicts there will be many new rivalries when Emma Hayes departs Chelsea at the end of the season

The pair will now have to work together too, with Arsenal defender Emily Fox playing for the USA – Hayes’ new team as of the summer.

But the current Chelsea manager believes there will not be any issues and much of their rivalry is for show saying: “I think it’s been a fun rivalry between the two of us. It’s fun for the women’s game. But that’s probably on camera.

“Off camera, we respect each other and I’m sure we will have good communication because at some point he’s going to have one of my players, so there’ll be a happy ending to it.”

Whether that sentiment remains the same after the recent accusations remains to be seen, but it certainly brings a fittingly dramatic curtain down on a great WSL rivalry.



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