Chelsea Women manager Emma Hayes today received her OBE from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge for her services to football.
Hayes was named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours at the start of the year and headed to Buckingham Palace to collect her award at the special ceremony, accompanied by her parents.
This follows her being made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), which was awarded in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours in 2016.
Since being announced in January, the Blues boss has had a phenomenal end to the 2021/22 season, with the team impressively clinching the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title - having won 18 of the 22 league fixtures - to become the first team in the WSL era to claim a third consecutive championship. Chelsea Women also scooped the Vitality Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley in front of over 50,000 fans, our second truimph in a six-month period having also beaten Arsenal at the end of 2021.
Hayes was also named the Best Women’s FIFA Coach Award for 2021 at the start of the year with a raft of accolades following later that season, including FA WSL Manager of the season and the LMA WSL Manager of the Year.
The Blues manager spoke of the special moment she collected the award at the royal residence.
‘What an honour for me and my family, for the football club to be awarded an OBE by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace,' Emma said. 'I’ve always been extremely fortunate to work in an industry that I love, that I’m passionate about and to be awarded an OBE for my services to football is a real privilege.
‘It was a great day, it was great to speak to the Duke about the women’s game, the women’s cup final, the women’s Euros. He’s so passionate about the women’s game and it was great to have a chat with him about that.
‘An extraordinary day with extraordinary people who have achieved wonderful things and a lot of have done tireless work for public service so I’m hugely honoured and certainly going to enjoy the rest of the weekend.’
After being awarded the MBE five years ago, Hayes added a raft of trophies to her name, starting by lifting the WSL Spring Series title in early 2017 and going on to win the Double that May. Hayes also welcomed the birth of her son soon after Chelsea’s FA Cup final victory.|
Further silverware followed in 2020 as the Blues clinched the Continental Tyres League Cup and were crowned the Barclays FA Women's Super League champions. Although the league ended prematurely due to Covid-19, it was decided by the FA that Hayes' undefeated side were winners, based on a points-per-game system. Hayes was named the 2019/20 WSL Manager of the Season after guiding the Blues to a brilliant unbeaten domestic campaign of 12 victories and three draws.
Last season, she led the Blues to their most successful campaign to date with an impressive domestic quadruple win, taking home the Barclays WSL league title, Continental Cup and Community Shield, and the rescheduled Vitality FA Cup.
Chelsea also made it to our first Champions League final last season and achieved a record-breaking 32-game unbeaten streak in the WSL. Unsurprisingly, Hayes was once more named the WSL Manager of the Season in 2020/21, and she was also inducted into the FA WSL Hall of Fame.
She penned a new deal in July 2021, committing her future to the club, and during the summer she also garnered critical acclaim for her expert analysis as a television pundit during the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
At the time of her OBE being announced, then Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck commented on the achievement: ‘On behalf of everybody at Chelsea Football Club, I would like to congratulate Emma on this incredible honour she is receiving.
‘Since joining us over a decade ago, Emma has not only transformed the women’s team here at Chelsea but has also continued to pioneer the way for the women’s game and inspire young girls across the country.
‘It’s great to see Emma’s hard work and dedication both on and off the pitch recognised, and we are very proud of all of her impressive achievements over the past 10 years.’