Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes has announced she will be taking time away from football to recover following an emergency hysterectomy.
Hayes is seen as one of the most influential and decorates figures in the women’s game, and she was awarded an OBE earlier in 2022 for her services to the sport.
But the 45-year-old will temporary step back from her role as Blues boss to focus on her health.
Hayes said in a statement: “Last Tuesday I underwent an emergency hysterectomy following my ongoing battle with endometriosis. I’m now in recovery and will need time and patience to return to full health.
“I just want to say thank you also to my amazing doctors, Dr Alex Laurence and Dr Sally Harris for their outstanding care. A huge thank you to our owners, the board and our HR director, Jo Stone, for the support they’ve shown and of course all of my family, staff and players.
“Throughout my absence, Denise Reddy will be making the on-field decisions along with Paul Green who will be carrying out all press obligations on my behalf.
“We have built a tremendous team over many years and we’ve adopted a very multi-disciplinary approach so that if situations like this arise, we are capable of being able to respond to the challenge. We have full confidence in Paul, Denise and all of the staff.
“We also know the team are very special and we have no doubt they’ll do everything to maintain their high standards.
“To our fans, you’ve had to listen to me bellowing from the other side of the pitch every week but now I want to hear you even louder because I’ll be sitting at home watching the team on the television until my return.
“I know you’ll respect that my health comes first and at this time I’ve got to prioritise what I need to do for me. I fully expect to make a full recovery and I look forward to seeing you in the foreseeable future.
“All the best, your manager, Emma.”