Leicester City Women sack manager Willie Kirk after allegation of relationship with player

 

Leicester City Women manager Willie Kirk with Sam Tierney of Leicester City Women during the Leicester City v Chelsea FC - Barclays Women's Super League match at King Power Stadium on March 3, 2024 in Leicester, United Kingdom. 

Leicester City Women have sacked manager Willie Kirk following an investigation into an alleged relationship with a player.

The 45-year-old was suspended from his post earlier this month, with a spokesperson for City confirming he was "assisting the club with an internal process". He has been absent from the touchline for Leicester's last three matches, with assistant manager Jennifer Foster and first-team coach Stephen Kirby taking charge of the team in his absence.


And the club confirmed they have parted ways with Kirk in a statement on Thursday. "In Leicester City Football Club can confirm that Willie Kirk has been dismissed from his position as LCFC Women Manager," a Leicester spokesperson said.


"Following an extensive internal disciplinary process and respecting the Club’s obligations to individual privacy, Willie was determined to have breached the team’s code of conduct to a degree that makes his position untenable.


"Established and implemented ahead of the start of the current season, 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.


"First Team responsibilities for LCFC Women will continue to be led by Jennifer Foster, supported by Stephen Kirby, while the Club begins the process of appointing a new permanent manager."


Kirk joined Leicester as a director of football in the summer of 2022, before taking over from Lydia Bedford as manager that November and improbably guiding the team to Women's Super League (WSL) safety last term. He started his career in women's football at Hibernian, before joining Bristol City, Manchester United (as an assistant coach) and Everton.

Kirk's suspension has sparked a discourse about the morality of relationships between players and coaches in the women's game, with a number of WSL managers condemning such relationships as "inappropriate". 

Earlier this year, Sheffield United dismissed manager Jonathan Morgan after it was alleged he had a relationship with a player during his time at Leicester, before the club was professional and affiliated with the men’s side.

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