Powell backs female Premier League boss

24 April 2012 / 08:34

Great Britain coach Hope Powell sees no reason why a woman should not manage a Barclays Premier League team.

Former Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez raised the prospect recently, claiming that he expected it to happen "within a decade". Coach of the England women's team since 1998, Powell is the foremost manager among the female fraternity.

On the eve of discovering who her side will be paired with in the Olympic Games later this year, the 45-year-old feels the only barriers come from dubious club owners and the intense scrutiny that would attach itself to the first woman manager. She said: "I don't see why it couldn't happen."

She continued: "The job is the same. It is about dealing with personalities and high-profile players, about the coaching and the psychology behind the game. That wouldn't be an issue. It is about people who own and run clubs feeling strongly and passionately enough, and believing that a female can do it."

For now Powell is focused on Wednesday's draw and then on assembling a squad. Faced with the same arguments over the selection of non-English players - Scotland skipper Julie Fleeting has already asked not to be considered - Powell has come to a straightforward decision. She will select the players and if they wish to withdraw, that is up to them.

"It is going to be a GB squad and I will pick the best players," she said. "I have absolute authority to pick the players I want and have had people looking at all the countries. If, for whatever reason, they decide not to make themselves available, I can't do anything about that."

Yet the Football Association are not quite off the hook in these political arguments. For, as Powell states, she was denied the chance to represent Britain as a player and a coach at previous Games because the FA refused to accept entry even though England had qualified. And there has been no word as to whether this tournament marks a change in that philosophy.

"I was just a player in '96 and didn't really know what was going on," she said. "In 2007 we came third in Europe and qualified, but obviously there were political debates to which I wasn't privy.

"You want to be part of the Olympics, so it was disappointing. All the players felt the same. But there was this political thing going on, and so you had to accept it.

"What happens from now on, I couldn't say. We are in it now, we'll deal with whatever comes next afterwards."