Wednesday April 17, 2024

Leicester Women manager Willie Kirk sacked over relationship with player

Leicester Women axe manager Willie Kirk over alleged breach of team code of conduct

By Web Desk
March 29, 2024
Manager of Leicesters women team Willie Kirk fired after internal probe. — Willie Kirk. (AFP/Goal _
Manager of Leicester's women team Willie Kirk fired after internal probe. — Willie Kirk. (AFP/Goal _

Leicester City have sacked its manager Willie Kirk after an internal investigation proved that he violated the team's code of conduct.

A complaint was lodged with the club regarding his alleged ongoing relationship as he faces criticism within women's football.

Earlier this month, the 45-year-old manager was suspended by the Women's Super League. The club launched an inquiry against him. After the probe concluded, Leicester City said in a statement that Kirk's actions before the 2023-24 season breached the team's code of conduct to an extent that rendered his position untenable.

"Willie was determined to have breached the team's code of conduct to a degree that makes his position untenable," Leicester said.

"The code forms part of the club's ongoing commitment to professionalising the women's game since the takeover of LCFC Women in 2020, promoting a performance-led culture among players, coaches and technical staff," Leicester added.

During this period, Kirk was absent for three consecutive matches. Assistant manager Jennifer Foster and first-team coach Stephen Kirby took charge during Kirk's suspension. Leicester City secured a notable victory in the Women's FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool under their interim management. However, subsequent defeats against Tottenham and Brighton in the WSL led the team to seek new leadership.

These relationships are not illegal but they cause concerns about potential power imbalances within the team. England manager Sarina Wiegman, Football Association director of women's football Baroness Campbell and several WSL managers have publicly voiced their disapproval.

Kirk initially joined Leicester City as a director of football in 2022 before taking over as manager in November of the same year. After becoming manager, he steered Leicester from the relegation zone to a respectable position. However, the club prioritised upholding their code of conduct and established to promote professionalism within the organisation.