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Manchester United call ‘relationship policy’ meeting amid safeguarding concerns in Women’s football



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Manchester United called a ‘relationship policy’ meeting on Friday, with there being increased safeguarding concerns in the women’s game.

Clubs in the professional women’s game are beginning to pay more attention to relationships between players or coaches within the club.

There is now increased scrutiny after the game became professional in England six years ago and the Daily Mail have described recent events as a “wake-up call”.

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The publication’s report explained that Manchester United had called a meeting of its players and staff on Friday to remind them of its‘ relationship policy’. A separate email was also sent to both players and agents, along with a written communication.

It was added that Polly Bancroft, who is responsible for strategic direction for the women’s team at Old Trafford, was being proactive following a week when dressing room relationships between players and coaches and players together have been a major talking point.

Jonathan Morgan was sacked as manager of Sheffield United last month after he admitted he had been in a relationship with a teenage Leicester City player while he was in charge of the club.

Last week, Leicester suspended the latest manager Willie Kirk over an alleged relationship with a player.

Players have told the Telegraph that relationships in the game are having an impact on the squad dynamic or morale. Others have described cases at their own club as “unprofessional”.

Former United manager Casey Stoney, who is now the head coach of San Diego Wave FC, said player-coach relationships should “never” happen and that it “should not even be a debate”.

Clubs in the WSL are looking to protect themselves, the report from MailOnline added, with these safeguarding concerns being central to many dressing rooms.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “I think player-coach relationships are inappropriate, player to player relationships are inappropriate.

“We have to look at it in the context of where the game has come from and say, look, we’re in a professional era now where the expectations in place for players and coaches is such that all of our focus and attention has got to be on having the top standards.”